70+ Education Documentaries to Challenge & Inspire

To stay current on issues that matter in education, check out the MoonshotEdu Show podcast.

Are you interested in exploring some of the most pressing topics in recent and contemporary education? Here is a list of some of my favorites, not because I agree with them but because them make me think. Expect to be challenged, moved, inspired, troubled, educated, confused, mad, sad, and glad. These represent diverse perspectives and each one provides a platform for thinking and talking about the past, present and future of education.

  1. Let Girls Learn (2016) – a series of clips about girls that Michelle Obama met on our tour around the world focused on girls and education
  2. All the Difference (2016) – Here is what is possible when you give even some of the most disadvantaged students the right support and learning context.
  3. Starving the Beast (2016) – a story of defunding in Texas higher education, but also a story about the role of government
  4. Children in the Prison (2016) – Prison and education have more connections that you might think.
  5. Schools of the Future (2016) – How with the new science of learning impact schools and education?
  6. Night School (2016) – adult learner journeys to opportunity through a high school diploma
  7. Audrie & Daisy (2016) – the impact of online bullying on two teenage girls
  8. Study Body (2016) – An Ohio 6th-grade student journalist fights back against “fat letters” and BMI testing in schools.
  9. Screenagers (2016) – the impact of screens on kids
  10. The Bad Kids (2016) – an unconventional approach to helping struggling students
  11. 180 Days: Hartsville (2015) – a look at two schools in a small town serving largely low-income families [watch online]
  12. The Road to Teach (2015) – aspiring teachers tour the nation
  13. Education, Inc. For Profit. For Kids? (2015) – a documentary about money and schools
  14. Sex in Class (2015) a look at a controversial approach to sex education in the UK
  15. This is My Land (2015) – how is history taught in Palestine and Israel?
  16. If You Build It (2015) – learning by doing and building – the story of two teachers, ten, students, and a massive building (literally) project
  17. The Homestretch (2015) – homeless teens pursuing an education
  18. Anatomy of a Snow Day (2015) – This is one student’s inquiry into how snow days are (or are not) called. Apart from snow days, this is a model of student-centered learning.
  19. Big Dream (2015) – young women and STEM education / aspirations
  20. Most Likely to Succeed (2015) – focus on the inadequacy of an industrial model for education and an alternative school in San Diego.
  21. Rise Above the Mark (2015) – what happens when politics and/or corporations enter the classroom?
  22. Backward Class (2015) – the case system and aspirations for University
  23. Disruptive Education (2015) – a documentary that tells the story of an incredible vision for education at Acton  Academy
  24. Collaboration: On the Edge of a New Paradigm (2014 – collaboration is changing life and learning [watch online]
  25. Sex (ed) – a look at sex education in schools
  26. Mission Hill (2014) – 10-part online documentary of a very successful public school
  27. The New Public (2014) – focused on teaching disadvantaged children
  28. The Graduates (2014) – pressing issues in education from the perspective of 6 Latino/Latina students
  29. Ivory Tower (2014) – Is college worth the cost?
  30. Unschooled The Film (2014) – homeschooling/unschooling
  31. Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning Outside the Classroom (2014) – homeschooling
  32. American Promise (2013) – race, class, access and opportunity
  33. Best Kept Secret (2013) – story of special education teacher helping students find a place in society after school
  34. One Child at a Time (2013) – audio documentary, digital age education, personalized learning [listen online]
  35. The Raising of America (2013) – early childhood education
  36. Technology and the 21st Century – short documentaries, educational innovators, educational technology, educational reform [watch online]
  37. Teach (2012) – inside the life and work of teachers, candid look at the joys and challenges of teaching
  38. Future Learning (2012) – short documentary, the future of education, education reform [watch online]
  39. Education for a Sustainable Future (2012) – how to create a socially sustainable education system [watch online]
  40. The Future of Learning – Networked Society (2012) [watch online]
  41. Chile Rising (2012) – free education vs privatized education, educational inequality [watch online]
  42. Educating Black Boys (2012) – race, stereotyping and education [watch online]
  43. The Forbidden Education (2012) – education reform, social criticism, Latin American education [watch online]
  44. The Revisionaries (2012) – textbook bias, political influence on school curricula
  45. Education for a Sustainable Future (2012) – education reform, preparing for the future [watch online]
  46. Brooklyn Castle (2012) – race and class, the impact of mentoring and extracurriculars
  47. Education Education: Why Poverty? (2012) – Chinese education system, poverty and opportunity [watch online]
  48. Two Million Minutes / A Right Denied / China Wins / Finland Phenomenon (2008-2011) – series of documentaries comparing education systems in different parts of the world
  49. American Teacher (2011) – the lived experiences of American teachers
  50. College Conspiracy (2011) – critiquing the promise of higher education [watch online]
  51. Free to Learn: A Radical Experiment in Education (2011) – free schooling, democratic schooling, student-led education, self-directed learning [watch online]
  52. The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman (2011) – ed reform, critique of charter schools and private influences on public education [watch online]
  53. Bully (2011) – bullying, school safety
  54. Building Hope (2011) – intercultural education, Kenyan education
  55. Digital Nation – Frontline (2011)- digital culture and youth [watch online]
  56. Project Happiness (2011) – the pursuit of happiness
  57. Precious Knowledge (2011) – social criticism, social-political influences on curriculum, Mexican American studies in Tucson schools
  58. The Cartel (2010) – education reform, social issues, political influences
  59. The Lottery (2010) – school lotteries, charter school, parent choice, access and opportunity
  60. Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden (2010) – influence of Western education around the world, social-cultural issues, contrasting philosophies of education, education reform
  61. Waiting for Superman (2010) – critique of American public education [watch online]
  62. Teached (2009) – race and the achievement gap
  63. Stupid in America (2009) – school culture and climate concerns [watch online]
  64. Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon (2009) – educational access and opportunity, inspirational (follows ten teenage entrepreneurs)
  65. Race to Nowhere (2009) – education reform, critique of testing culture, school climate and culture
  66. The War on kids (2009) – education reform, critique of schools as autocratic systems
  67. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed – intelligent design in education, social/political perspectives on curriculum
  68. Flunked (2008) – survey of high-performing schools
  69. Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood (2008) – social criticism [watch online]
  70. Resolved (2007) – high school debate meets racial and class bias
  71. Final Score (2007) – high-stakes testing, education in Thailand
  72. Please Vote for Me (2007) – education in China, democracy in education, school culture
  73. Wings of Evolution (2007) – education in India, social criticism, access and opportunity
  74. The Pact (2006) – educational access and opportunity, inspirational
  75. The World’s Best Prom (2006) – prom, school culture and climate
  76. The World According to Sesame Street (2006) – educational television
  77. Being Human (2005) – education reform, low-performing schools, school climate and culture
  78. The Education of Shelby Knox (2005) – sex education, curriculum in public education
  79. Rock School (2005) – an interesting take of music education
  80. Children Full of Life (2003) – inspirational teaching, education in a Tokyo classroom [watch online]
  81. American Experience: The Monkey Trail – creation/evolution in public education
  82. Why Do These Kids Love School? (1999) – innovative schooling, independent schools, self-directed learning, creativity in schools
  83. A Class Divided (1985) – the classic story of one teacher’s attempt to teach about racism and prejudice [watch online]
  84. A City Decides (1956) – racial integration in St. Louis

2 thoughts on “70+ Education Documentaries to Challenge & Inspire

  1. ralphsherman

    Wow, what a list. Did you curate this yourself Bernard? It is good to study all points of view. One never knows what they might have in common if you don’t.

Comments are closed.