SESP Hosts Screening of The Lottery on February 21

SESP Hosts Screening of The Lottery on February 21

The Lottery Movie
Want to see a new award-winning documentary film about public education? On February 21 the School of Education and Social Policy will host a screening of The Lottery, which brings to life the controversy over school choice and education reform. After the film, professors Jim Spillane and Kirabo Jackson will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Teach for America alumna Dahlia Graham.

SESP students, faculty and staff are invited to this free screening in G21 Annenberg Hall, starting at 3:30 p.m. The panel discussion will begin after the 80-minute film, and snacks and drinks will be provided. Anyone who wants to attend must RSVP at this link

The Lottery, which was directed by Madeleine Sacklerfocuses on four families who enter their children into a school lottery. In the process, it dramatizes the crisis in the education of American children and offers a viewpoint on crucial reforms. Participants in the film include such education leaders as Geoffrey Canada, Cory Booker, Joel Klein, Eva Moskowitz and Dacia Toll. The official web site for the film is at

According to the film’s producers, The Lottery addresses the achievement gap in American education, which may be traced to a lack of opportunity affecting primarily minority students. For example, by fourth grade, students in low-income communities are, on average, already two to three grade levels behind their peers in more affluent communities. And 86 percent of African American students and 89 percent of Latino students in middle school and high school are reading below grade level.

Sackler says, “The four families in The Lottery are unique in the personal journeys that brought them to lottery day, but they all have the same goal for their children: a high-quality education that will provide them with the opportunity for a better future. ... If we continue to be complacent about schools that are failing and if we don’t make it possible for excellent schools to expand and flourish, we are not only sentencing the most disadvantaged in our communities to devastating consequences; we are putting the future of the country at risk.”

Panel members Spillane and Jackson, who will comment on the education issues raised in the film, are SESP faculty members and experts in education policy. Spillane's work explores the policy implementation process at the state, school district, school and classroom levels. Jackson is an economist who researches the economics of education.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 1/27/11