Having conquered the film world so decisively, movie maker M. Night Shyamalan, who resides on the Main Line, is about to release a book called I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap. It’s about education reform.
He told Wall Street Journal‘s Alexandra Wolfe all about it in the Saturday/Sunday edition of the paper:
Until recently, he says, moviemaking was his real passion. “I’m not a do-gooder,” he says. Still, after the commercial success of his early movies, he wanted to get involved in philanthropy. At first, he gave scholarships to inner-city children in Philadelphia, but he found the results disheartening. When he met the students he had supported over dinner, he could see that the system left them socially and academically unprepared for college. “They’d been taught they were powerless,” he says.
He wanted to do more. He decided to approach education like he did his films: thematically. “I think in terms of plot structure,” he says. He wondered if the problems in U.S. public schools could be traced to the country’s racial divisions. Because so many underperforming students are minorities, he says, “there’s an apathy. We don’t think of it as ‘us.’ ”
One reason that countries such as Finland and Singapore have such high international test scores, Mr. Shyamalan thinks, is that they are more racially homogenous [sic]. As he sees it, their citizens care more about overall school performance — unlike in the U.S., where uneven school quality affects some groups more than others. So Mr. Shyamalan took it upon himself to figure out where the educational gap between races was coming from and what could be done about it.
You can pre-order I Got Schooled now on Amazon. The book is set to be released on September 10th via Simon & Schuster.