Parents' Guide to

Blackboard Wars

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Tough school with fights, disrespect faces uphill battle.

TV OWN Reality TV 2013
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Blackboard Wars notes the various and unique challenges that come with transitioning troubled schools into successful ones. While some of the issues discussed here, like violence, drugs, and teen pregnancy, are nothing new, conversations about the need to transform the school's overall identity offers a new perspective on how complicated and difficult making these changes is. Adding to this are observations made by newly hired teachers, some of whom are not from the local area, and are only beginning to understand how their students' difficult circumstances impact how they make sense of the world around them.

The discussions about helping John McDonogh succeed are positive, but the series also promotes the creation of a charter school as a way of coping with its problems. As a result, it glosses over controversial issues, like placing the blame on good teachers for students' low test scores (and firing them as a result), as well as the fears that stem from allowing for-profit charter companies to take control of neighborhood schools, which play a part in a students' understanding of their community's long-standing traditions and values. But despite all of this, it sends a strong message about the importance of education in every students' life, and the need for more people to get involved to ensure that they get a good one.

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