I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary (1993)

I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary (1993)

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Noted documentarians Alan and Susan Raymond spent one year at Stanton Elementary School in urban Philadelphia creating a surprising document of lost dreams and hopes in their 1993 film I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School. Exclusively African-American and mostly filled with children from impoverished homes, the school's staff and administration have spent much time trying to create a solid place of learning and hope for its children. A new opportunity is presented when dynamic Caucasian principal Deanna Burney takes over the school and sets about changing the atmosphere of the school. Over the course of the year, though, Burney's efforts are not enough to offset the greater community's malcontent and pervasive lawlessness, forcing the idealistic principal to make some difficult choices about her position in the school district. I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School was one of the most awarded documentary films in 1993, with an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and an Emmy award for Outstanding Information Special among its numerous citations.

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Audience Reviews for I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary

½

Teachers in inner-city Philadelphia with exclusively poor African-American students struggle to inspire and educate their students. Deploying the concepts of educators as heroes and education as inspiration, the subjects of this documentary encounter all the problems that you'd expect. While I normally reject the idea that education and inspiration are related, the context of this film and these teachers makes me challenge my own ideas. The principal of this school, Deanna Burney, must convince the students and their parents that they aren't categorically doomed to repeat the lives they see in their environment and that education has the power to take them beyond what they see. And at times she even has to convince teachers to believe in the "power of education." These are all idealistic notions that don't always hold up in real life, but it's hard to argue with her in the context of this film. Overall, my cold, dead, cynical heart was almost warmed by this film.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

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