Madeleine Sackler, director
The Lottery, LLC
Classroom educators may have Stand and Deliver, Freedom Writers and Lean on Me for inspiration, but thanks to a spurt of new documentaries, education reformers now have an excuse to pop some corn too. One of the best is The Lottery. Compellingly understated in its delivery, it tracks the springtime lottery at Harlem Success Academy, a high-achieving New York City charter school run by Eva Moskowitz. Each year, thousands of families apply for one of the few hundred seats available at the school. The movie follows four black Harlem families in the months leading up to the lottery, highlighting their aspirations and family situations and juxtaposing these against the political backlash and hostile community atmosphere in which Harlem Success Academy operates. Fusing all aspects of the education reform debate—from the struggles of the school choice movement to the political clout of the Goliath teachers’ unions—The Lottery reminds us that our outdated and outmoded system is seriously broken. Watch the trailer and get inspired here.