My friend (and one of the earliest TFA'ers), Kelly Amis, is putting the finishing touches on a new film called Teached. She's posted a five-minute excerpt entitled Path to Prison at www.teached.org/path-to-prison/, in which a young African-American man, Jerome, tells his story: ignored (and sometimes abused) at school, he was passed along in school year after year despite not being able to read. Not surprisingly, he joined a gang at 13, was imprisoned at 17 and served 10 years, where he finally learned to read. His story, in which he got a better education in PRISON than in SCHOOL, isn't a common one – but among low-income black and Latinos, especially males, it's not uncommon either, which is a tragedy and disgrace:
While black Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population, they represent 44% of our prison population. In the U.S. today, a black male is more likely to live in a prison cell than a college dorm.
"The Path to Prison" provides a candid look at this preventable crisis. Featuring a young man from South Central, Los Angeles who shares his personal story, "The Path to Prison" shows how a perfectly intelligent and capable boy ends up on this tragic, but sadly commonplace trajectory to criminal behavior and incarceration.
PS—Kelli has posted two other videos at www.teached.org:
A) Did you Know? Recent news reports suggest that American students are falling far behind their peers in academics. But TEACHED wondered if this was true across the board. See the results when we break down PISA international reading scores by race and gender.
B) Watch clips from Loudspeaker Films founder Kelly Amis' interview of Grammy Award-winning performer and education activist John Legend. To learn more about the ways John is working to improve the lives of others, go to www.showmecampaign.org.