Documentary to show opportunity inequalities in New York school system

October 31, 2016

Kyle Guthrie

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     Inequalities do not just exist between races in the U.S., but in social class as well.

     The UCCS Matrix Center for social equity and inclusion will show “Tested” on Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the third floor apse, followed by a Q&A with director Curtis Chin.

     “Tested” follows several New York families as their children attempt to take a test to get into the higher rated school districts.

     The documentary’s narrative is told through several perspectives across a range of racial and socioeconomic statuses.

     Student’s experiences will be highlighted to tie into social equity at UCCS, according to Pamela Weisman, project manager at the Matrix Center of Social Equity and Inclusion.

     “It’s very interesting for what we are doing at the Matrix Center for working toward social equity, but also very relevant for students and faculty going here,” said Weisman.

     “New York City has different school levels based on academic performance, and some of the highest ranking schools in the city have low minority populations.”

     Weisman hopes that the film will open discussions on the topic of how racial and socioeconomic status impacts minority students, and thinks that both students and faculty at UCCS should see the movie.

     “I think that this will be a film that is highly relevant to any faculty member and anyone striving to be a teacher later in their life,” Weisman said.

     “We have a big divide in our country, and that is well known. It is easier for certain people to get on top, and we know that. We hope this film will break down that institutionalized disadvantage for these groups of people and offer some good insights for teachers.”

     Weisman said that the Matrix Center became interested in the film after meeting Chin at the White Privilege Conference in Philadelphia, where the director screened his film.

     Weisman added that since she has not seen the film, she does not know the findings, but explained the film.

     Black and Hispanic students compose five percent of the minority population at the highest rated schools in New York City, compared to a 70 percent minority population in New York City overall, according to Chin’s website.

     “The director is examining this and follows them through school, where they have to take a certain test to try and qualify to get to these more elite schools, so he’s examining the barriers in the way of underprivileged kids trying to get to these better schools and get a better education,” said Weisman.