A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in this made-for-TV movie, Clark's students have difficult family lives. One child is in foster care and gets abused by his foster parent. Another child is the de-facto mom to her younger siblings, as her mother works two jobs. The children have bigger problems than not knowing grammar, and their problems may disturb more sensitive kids or kids who have been in similar situations. Clark also has a crush on a woman who has a boyfriend and kisses her.
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What's the story?
Matthew Perry plays a young, idealistic teacher determined to go where he can make the biggest difference. So he moves from rural Virginia to New York City. There, he waits tables while he searches for a school that will have him. He finds one in Inner Harlem Elementary School, where the remedial students have driven away six teachers in one year with their sheer rudeness and bullying. But Clark is determined to stay and raise these low-achieving students' test scores above grade level. Can he gain the students' trust enough to get them to listen? Can he weather their brutal hazing? And can he remain true to himself and his students in the process?
Is it any good?
Like a truly great teacher, THE RON CLARK STORY is geeky. It's earnest. It's an unabashed do-gooder. Most especially, The Ron Clark Story is not cool. It's the cinematic equivalent of a dorky middle-aged guy rapping about the U.S. presidents to a too-cool-for-school group of inner city tweens. And because it's so pure in its motivations, it's also a sweetly moving film.
While the story is affecting, it's also completely predictable. Viewers get the hayseed-in-the-big-city montage, where Clark innocently smiles and says hi to jaded New Yorkers. We get the one-dimensionally bad-boy and bad-girl students who must be won over, and we get the amusing and inspiring stunts Clark pulls to win his students' trust and get them to, finally, learn. It's nothing you haven't seen before… But that certainly doesn't mean it isn't an enjoyable film. Like good teachers, we can always use movies about effective education.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Clark's rules and whether or not they follow them at home.
Do you treat each other with respect?
Do you speak to each other in kind ways?
The movie may also inspire kids and parents to talk about their favorite teachers and what they liked about them.
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