Night School

Night School

Director: Andrew Cohn
Running Time: 85 minutes

This film had its final screening at The Nightlight on June 22, 2017.

Night School exposes the individualism of poverty and the power that education can bring to the powerless.

We’ve heard a lot about the crisis of education in America – about poverty, about the dropout rate, about prohibitive testing measures, about charter schools and teacher salaries and the slow decline of American education having any sort of claim to intellectual ascendancy. And while politicians can shout that no child should be left behind, they still are, they have been, and they will be. But there are some children who have now become adults and who, for a multitude of reasons, long to finish their education. Night School, a documentary from Andrew Cohn, seeks to tell at least a few of their stories.

Night School exposes, clearly and with deep understanding, the individualism of poverty. It reveals in each of these students the desire for an education, the extreme unfairness of our current system, and the steps that some schools are taking to try to alleviate poverty and give people not just a way out of bad economic circumstances, but out of the self-doubt that comes with being constantly told you’re not good enough.

The interaction of education and the growing sense of self-worth is as much a goal in education as the actual rote learning of formulas, rules, and quadratic equations. Night School largely avoids overt political statements and so, like all the best documentaries, allows the subjects to speak for themselves. There is no better argument for education than in seeing what power and confidence it can bring to the powerless.

~~ Lauren Humpghries,