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I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993)
*** (out of 4)
Oscar-winning documentary takes a look at the various issues at a South Philadelphia middle school where over 90% of the students are living in poverty with a single parent. Filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond who spent a year at the school where they captured the drugs, the lack on income and various other issues that really makes one wonder what hope any of these students have. There's no doubt that this film comes with a message and that's the fact that no child should go without any education. Throughout the film we're reminded that these children have very little hope and in the end we're given a message that so much more needs to be done for these inner city schools. I think anyone watching the film can see that more could be done and I'm sure most would agree that every child needs an education but the really strange thing about this documentary is that it shines the light on some very bad students who are really bringing their entire classes down. You really do wonder about some of these students and ask yourself if their lack of respect and discipline are really hurting those around them who might want to get an education or try to better themselves. Even worse are seeing some of the parents who simply don't care about the problems of their children, which to me is what the message should have really been. What are the schools to do when the children don't want to learn and their parents don't care if they learn? Overall the documentary is well made and takes a look at a big problem without really giving any answers for ways to improve it.
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