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Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail


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Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail + Frontline: Dropout Nation + 180 Days: Year Inside an American High School
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Editorial Reviews

TOO IMPORTANT TO FAIL takes a clear-eyed look at the challenges facing African American teenage boys as they navigate their way to adulthood. With the high school drop out rate among black boys approaching 50%, this program examines the obstacles these boys confront and puts a very human face on the statistics. Taking his cameras to Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago and Los Angeles, Tavis Smiley talks with boys who are achieving against enormous odds and the adults who refuse to let them fail. An inspiring story of hope and accomplishment, TOO IMPORTANT TO FAIL provides a roadmap for what can be done to provide all teens with the tools they need to succeed.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tavis Smiley
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005G815Y6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,107 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on September 30, 2011
Smiley goes across the country (Philly, Chicago, Oakland, inter alia) speaking to Black boys and men (and some Black women) about what can be done to educate more African-American males. Rather than doing lots of narrating, the work consists mostly of Smiley letting his interviewees do the talking. This may "keep it real," but it does get a bit dull at times.

This work does a great job of showing men and boys who transformed academically. Smiley admits that he didn't like school for many years. A brother in charge of a department of corrections admitted that he was once an inmate. This shows several boys who one day decided to become academically focused. However, many of these boys transferred from the school down the street to schools that catered to their unique needs or demographic. I don't know if that's a choice that most Black males have. If I heard correctly, No Child Left Behind allows students to leave a school that's failing IF another school is willing to take them, which is not often the case.

Along these lines, the work shows Black males in a special school where they seem to be the majority of students. The CEO (Lightbulb! Not "principal," but "CEO." This makes me think this is a private entity.) said students and teachers of any race or gender can apply. But if I remember correctly, the Supreme Court ruled in the 1990s that all Black male public schools were illegal. It's not the presence of female students that stunts learning, it's other factors. Plus, gender segregation could open an unfortunate door and return to racial segregation. This majority Black male school reminded me visually of Morehouse, but I don't know if that option is truly available in large numbers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Buxton on February 22, 2015
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A must see for all
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