Movie Recommendation: The Providence Effect

September 22, 2009

If we’re lucky, we’ve had someone in our life who encouraged us to get an education and make a better life for ourself.  In my case, my parents and two uncles all encouraged me to go to college.  They created an atmosphere where it was expected that I would further my education.  I am grateful I had these positive influences in my life.  Some people, however, are not so lucky.

I’ve started seeing ads for a documentary that is opening this Friday, September 25, at selected theaters across the country.  It’s about an inner-city Chicago high school with an incredible record of achievement – 100 percent of its graduates go on to college and many graduates attend Ivy League universities.  This movie sounds like an anecdote to the many millions of excuses that say that something like this cannot be done and is not possible.

If you’re a teacher who’s burnt out and counting the days until retirement, if your a jaded white-collar worker who is going through the motions, if your between jobs and wondering if you will ever get your chance to work at a job you love…you should see this movie (or get it on Netflix when it is available).  While I have not seen this movie (yet), I have a feeling you will walk out of the theater feeling inspired with the belief that anything is possible.  I will have a review for you soon. 

1 Nadia - Happy Lotus September 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

Hi Tim,

That is so cool. Thank you for sharing the trailer with all of us. I will have to check that out. Education is the ticket out of a bad situation. The irony about education that people complain a lot about kids not being motivated. But it is hard to be motivated at school when you are being taught by people who could care less about their jobs and their students.

That is what you used to drive me crazy in high school. The teachers could not wait for the day to end and they were so miserable, it made learning a chore. College and law school were totally different. I was suddenly exposed to people who loved their jobs and as a result, it made me love going to class. So good for those kids in Chicago who have people that care.

Apologies for my tirade but this is something that just is so close to my heart. 🙂

2 lori September 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hi Tim!

Thanks for the heads up about this movie! I second Nadia.

I’m trying more than ever to seek out good news! And I think the more examples out there to inspire and educate about possibilities, the better!

I’m looking forward to your review, too.
Great post, Tim (and slick new Gravatar!). 🙂

3 Tim September 22, 2009 at 8:57 pm

@Nadia, thank you for stopping by and for your rant …no need to apologize. I hope I did not come across too strong that all teachers are burnt out and waiting for retirement. One of my closest friends is a teacher and I have spent numerous hours listening to the challenges they face. The fact that these teachers get no support from their administrations is one big reason that I considered teaching but backed out. I’ve been told by many of my closest friends that I would make a good teacher because I am a patient person. However, I do not have patience for an administration that would not support me. All this being said, there is a part of me that wants to defend teachers. However, you are right there are some teachers out there that appear to not really care…and they are not fooling anybody…and this is where the kids are getting a raw deal.

One thing I should have mentioned in my post is that I realize college is not the right thing for everybody. There are plenty of blue collar workers who have made much more money than I have and who enjoy working with their hands. But like you said, education is a ticket out of a bad situation and an opportunity for something better. One thing to note, the school featured in the film is a private school. As someone who has attended both public and private schools in Chicago, there is a huge difference. In private schools, they will not tolerate bad behavior and poor performance…they will just kick these students out. Public schools, however, must work with the worst students in terms of behavior and performance. This disrupts classes and really cheats the students who want to be there.

What amazes me is how little we value education in this country. While every major city will go out of its way to provide tax breaks to its pro sports teams so that their teams can build new multi-million (billion, in the case with the Dallas Cowboys) dollar stadiums, their public schools are run down. If I was a kid, I probably would not want to learn in these dilapidated schools. We need to change this.

@Lori, thank you for stopping by. I love the idea of this documentary because it, to me, emphasizes that anything is possible. We do need more good news out there for sure.

4 Lance September 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

Hi Tim,
What a completely uplifting story! And watching the trailer, I’m energized by what can be. This world is filled with amazing human beings, and how often are their talents not given the chance to soar, especially at a young age? Wow, what a great story!!

5 Tim September 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Hi Lance:

Thank you for stopping by and for your support on my blog…I know there is so much bad news about everything. I’m glad to see such a positive story out there.

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