Monday, April 12, 2010

Pics from the premiere of my documentary on Wed night

The premiere of A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform, was on Wednesday evening, and it couldn’t have gone better – more than 500 people attended the two showings and the panels were awesome!  Pictures are also posted at  Enjoy!


P.S.—The two-minute trailer is posted here:  You can also order the DVD here – and this month, $10 of every sale will go to Teach for America and KIPP.

P.P.S.—Here’s some background about A Right Denied:
After seeing An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s documentary about global warming, I thought to myself, “That’s exactly what school reformers need as well!”, so I’ve spent the last few years developing a slide presentation that has reached 240 pages (it’s posted at:; you might also be interested in my school reform web page at:
I’ve given this presentation numerous times around the country, and at such an event in Washington, DC last fall, I met Bob Compton, a highly successful businessman who in retirement has dedicated himself to addressing our educational failures by producing the brilliant 2 Million Minutes series of documentaries (
After seeing my presentation, he approached me about doing a documentary about it.  Frankly, the last thing I need is to be higher profile, but I agreed to do it because I care very deeply about this issue and my experience with the presentation is that it both educates and, more importantly, inspires people to action.  We filmed it in Memphis on January 15th, what would have been Martin Luther King’s 81st birthday, before an audience of KIPP students and teachers.
Here is the cover of the DVD:

And here is the text on the back cover of the DVD:

Most Americans have long known that our public schools aren’t getting the job done, but as our country increasingly falls behind our economic competitors and a wide academic gap within our country persists between low-income, minority students and their more affluent peers, these twin achievement gaps have reached crisis proportions.  Simply put, the failure of our public schools is the most pressing domestic issue our nation faces.
There’s good news, however: we now know what must be done to fix our schools and a wave of reform is beginning to sweep the country.  But it won’t be easy – the system, while failing children, has been working very well for the adults, who fight ferociously to maintain the unacceptable status quo.  The outcome of this battle will determine the long-term future of our country.
Whitney Tilson committed himself to this issue more than 20 years ago, when he was one of the first people to join Wendy Kopp in starting Teach for America.  She in turn later introduced him to David Levin, the co-founder of the KIPP network of charter schools, and he has served on KIPP’s board in New York City for nearly a decade. Mr. Tilson is also one of the founders of Democrats for Education Reform, Rewarding Achievement (REACH), and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Council of Urban Professionals, and the Pershing Square Foundation.
After spending more than two decades on the front lines, witnessing first-hand public education’s shocking failures and remarkable successes, Mr. Tilson was inspired to assemble a powerful and at times unsettling presentation about the twin achievement gaps and what must be done to address them.  He utilizes the latest data and research to paint the most detailed portrait of American public education ever committed to film.  More importantly, he presents us with a way forward so our nation can deliver on its promise to all of its children and ensure its long-term future.


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