An excellent, thought-provoking look at a tough subject
Just about all of us know a frustrated teacher or 3. "Schooled" is the story of Fred, a dedicated, well-intentioned high-school history teacher who has reached the end of his rope - he's put on leave by the school and running into rough water in his marriage, and decides to visit Shelly, an old high school friend on the other side of the country.
Shelly, her husband Hector and a household of adopted kids challenge everything Fred had always believed about what and how children need to learn. Hector teaches at a school where there are no required classes or tests and where the kids make and enforce the rules. Fred expects chaos and ignorance, but instead finds articulate, passionate, focused kids who are not afraid to make up their own minds. A series of events lead Fred back home and back to his teaching job with a new appreciation of what kids deserve and are capable of.
The acting is solid all around, especially the kids (and the dog!). The story builds to a satisfying climax. I was a little choked up at the end.
The 'Kid's School' in the movie may strike some as fantasy, but Elms based it on the Sudbury Valley School and its offspring around the world, who have a stellar 40 year track record of preparing kids for life in the real world exactly in the manner presented in the film.
If you want a thought-provoking experience or just want to see a good movie, go catch Schooled.
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