When Hollywood Goes to School, What Do We Learn? By Ross Brenneman

When Hollywood Goes to School, What Do We Learn?

Unless you're offering generous terms, none of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards involved education. This is not to say they didn't contain educational moments, of course. "Life of Pi" delves into biological sciences and behavior conditioning. "Lincoln" demonstrates how history can come alive—like at a museum, only with less reading. (Maybe the Smithsonian could ask Daniel Day-Lewis to wander the grounds acting like Abraham Lincoln.) But, no, they're not about school.

I've seen on the Internet, following this year's Academy Awards, some murmurs that all Hollywood has to say about school anymore is in support of charter schools and against teachers. After all, one of the most hyped education movies of 2012 was "Won't Back Down," yet its ties to the conservative Walden Media had many teachers scowling. And that came on the tail of "Waiting for 'Superman'" in 2010. Has Hollywood given up on public schools?

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