The New Public (2014)





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In fall 2006, former DJ, point guard and teacher turned first-time principal, James O'Brien, opened a small public high school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where 1/3 of residents live below the poverty line and the graduation rate is 40%. With infectious optimism, O'Brien and his team of eight undertook an unconventional approach and ambitious mission: Create a school with an arts-oriented curriculum that also emphasizes self-development, community collaboration and social change. Initially, the buzz from everyone was that this was a dream come true. But conflicts arose when untested idealism was challenged by long-standing realities far bigger than school. (c) Official Site
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The New Public

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Emotionally involving doc captures the highs and lows of an idealistic schooling experiment.

Full Review… | January 31, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

[A] remarkably engaging and complex documentary.

Full Review… | January 31, 2014

Audience Reviews for The New Public

At the beginning of this film I was certain that it would be another superficial story about how easy it would be to reform the education system if only people would try harder, be more dedicated, spend more money, etc. But this movie is about much, much more than that. It shows the reality of the enormous obstacles that educators and students and their families face. It is an in-depth look at what is a crisis in this country. It's riveting. It's a remarkable film. Watch it.

Patsy Klein
Patsy Klein

As one of the main subjects in this film, I stand by its integrity. The New Public faithfully depicts my own struggles and achievements as well as those of my students, parents, and the school community as a whole. To be sure, it has been difficult to watch myself flounder in front of a national audience but if my personal drama is edifying I'm okay with it. I've used this film in my high school classroom and I've attended numerous screenings for educators and the public alike and I've witnessed howl this film raises crucial issues for our society as a whole. This is not just a sociological film, but a beautiful piece of filmmaking intimate, entertaining, and at times genuinely funny.

paul kevin greer
paul kevin greer

Never has such an intimate and informative documentary been made about the public school system. You will understand a world you don't know, your heart will break, and you will be driven to change things.

mitch rosenbaum
mitch rosenbaum

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