This was the official website for the 2008 full-length documentary, Flunked, directed by Corey Burres .
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.
Up through 4th grade, American students are above-average when tested against students of other nations. After that, they begin a steady decline to the point where, by the 12th grade, American students are down near the bottom.
Something is wrong in American education.
Flunked went out and found some teachers who are doing something about it...
A half century ago, American education began a decline. Presidents lament the decline in their speeches. Politicians pontificate about it...but the problems persist. Now, here comes a movie that's all about fixing it. J. Caldera KOA Radio, Denver
"A fine film. Very informative, very challenging..." Michael Medved Film Critic
49 minutes (Not Rated)
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA
Los Angeles, California, USA
Oakland, California, USA
Portland, Oregon, USA
San Francisco, California, USA
Uploaded on Oct 5, 2007
The American education system is failing. It's time to do something. "Flunked", narrated by Joe Mantegna, is a full-length documentary designed to be both informative and entertaining, without compromising the truth of the crisis we are facing in education today. Most people are well aware of the declining test scores and competitiveness of the average American student, as well as myriad other problems facing education today. However, complaining about the problem, while easy to do, produces little productive results. Instead, "Flunked" focuses on many of today's schools nationwide that are "getting it right"---attaining great results in terms of college preparation, high test scores, and graduating competent workers for tomorrow's economy. Flunked is coming soon!
I was eager to see this film, not only because of its content, but also because I happened to be in Portland when they were filming there. I am a film nut, and like a small child looking at a fire truck, whenever I come across a film crew with all their truck, spotlights, and crew, I stop and watch. I had just delivered a designer dining table from a collector in Baltimore to a client. It was an Atlas hand-made dining table by Danny Lane for Fiam Italia. This particular dining table features layers of straight and curved edge glass sculpted entirely by hand. At over $22,000.00, the client wanted it to be hand delivered by me. I used our trusted Baltimore movers for this long haul, but especially because of the high value of the load. The buyer had negotiated with the collector in Baltimore and special ordered it for my client. Fourteen weeks later I was in Portland making sure is was delivered and assembled according to the specs. Everything was in order. The client was thrilled with the table and I was relieved to get that piece out of the moving van. I left to get something to eat and ran into the film crew for Flunked. They were taking a break at the same cafe as myself. I got talking to one of the crew and learned about Flunked. I thought the premise, showing education alternatives, including charter schools and reform options for fixing troubled public schools was great and said I would look for the documentary once it was released. I was glad to hear that Flunked won Best Documentary at the San Fernando Valley International Film Festival in Los Angeles, Best Educational Documentary at the Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival in Houston, the Award of Merit from the Accolade Competition, and the first ever SPNovation Award.
America, we have a problem.
Results of national and international tests show that our students are falling further and further behind. The average American student is no longer able to compete with foreign students, and in many cases, they’re failing to meet even basic academic standards.
Success rates are plummeting, and remediation and dropout rates are skyrocketing. Students entering the current American education system are in for a grim ride. It truly is a national scandal.
One size does not fit all...
Complaining about the problem is easy, but it produces few productive results — especially when many schools nationwide are truly “getting it right.” Flunked is the story of these schools—their founders, leaders, and students—who are breaking the mediocre mold by attaining great results in terms of college preparation, high test scores, and graduating competent workers for tomorrow’s economy. Discovering that one size truly does not fit all, they are finding different ways to make it work in their area, with their students.
The main characters of Flunked are our “heroes,” men and women from all walks of life—parents, teachers, principals, business professionals—who are making a difference to our students. These individuals have defied the odds, pressed the system, and succeeded in seemingly impossible situations. Through it all, they have proven that solutions in education are available here and now, if we will only follow their examples…
What Do You Know?
In The Decline and Fall of American Education, Paul Peterson writes:
The longer students are in school, the worse things get. Among fourth graders, U.S. students rank high on the International Test of Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Despite this head start, by eighth grade, American adolescents have slipped to the midpoint on the TIMSS; by age 17, their scores trail all but those in a few developing countries.
So, we start out okay in 4th grade, but by the time our kids have gone through eight years of school, they’re down near the bottom. How does something like that happen?
What’s worse, the TIMSS test upon which that disturbing statistic is based might actually have been skewed in our favor…
Only 74% of the 4th grade math test questions were "considered appropriate" by Singapore, while 100% were approved by the United States. The percentage for Korea was even lower at 43%. Yet Singapore and Korea ranked first and second on the TIMSS 4th grade math test, scoring "significantly higher" than the United States.
Similarly, the TIMSS test may have favored us in another way:
…some of the superior countries in grade 8 (especially the Asians) were not included in published 12th grade results.
The TIMSS test, which shows the disturbing fact that the longer our students stay in our schools, the WORSE they perform, actually may have given us a better ranking even than we deserved. That is bad.
Keep reading for more disturbing facts…
The Decline and Fall of American Education
By Paul E. Peterson
Americans barely reach the international literacy average set by advanced democracies… Despite the high expenditures on education in the United States—and the large numbers of students enrolled in colleges and universities—the United States ranked 12th on the test.
The United States is living on its past. Among the oldest group in the study (those aged 56–65), U.S. prose skills rose to second place. For those attending school in the 1950s, SAT scores reached an all-time high.
As the years go by, the United States slips down the list. Americans educated in the sixties captured a Bronze Medal in literacy, those schooled in the seventies got 5th place in the race. But those schooled in the nineties ranked 14th…
All signs point to a deterioration in the quality of American schools. Europeans and Asians alike have rapidly expanded their educational systems over the last 50 years. In the United States stagnation if not decline has been apparent at least since the 1970s. Even our high school graduation rates are lower today than they were a decade ago.
Education Statistics: International comparisons
Despite higher than average per-pupil expenditures, American 8th graders ranked 19th out of 38 countries on the most recent international mathematics comparison, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study-Repeat (TIMSS-R) of 1999. American students scored 18th out of 38 countries in science.On the TIMSS 1995 study, which tested 12th graders, American students were ranked 19th out of 21 countries in both math and science general knowledge.
Keep checking back here; we’ll be updating the page regularly!