October 10th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: REBIRTH: New Orleans is coming to Netflix!

REBIRTH: New Orleans

For Immediate Release:

REBIRTH: New Orleans, a new film about the greatest experiment in the history of American public education, is coming to Netflix

NEW YORK, NY – REBIRTH: New Orleans, a film by non-profit production company Learning Matters, premieres on Netflix on Tuesday, October 22nd. This one-hour documentary, featuring the music of New Orleans’ own Wynton Marsalis, tells the story of the unprecedented transformation of the city’s public schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

For decades, New Orleans’ children suffered in a public school system steeped in corruption and plagued by failure. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, raging winds and flooding destroyed or severely damaged much of the city and most of its schools. Out of the rubble, the city and the state rebuilt the New Orleans public schools from the ground up.  But in a rejection of the city’s flawed education system, more than 5,000 teachers and employees were let go, and most schools opened as charter schools, publicly funded but independently operated. For the most part, the old Orleans Parish School Board was left out of the picture.

Today about 85% of New Orleans’ schools have charters, more than any other city in the country, and the leadership’s avowed goal is to charter them all.  Signs are good: test scores have been improving faster than anywhere else in Louisiana, but it’s too early to declare victory.  Some schools have failed, some have been accused of treating struggling students and those with special needs unfairly, and many in the New Orleans community remain skeptical.

John Merrow was on the ground in New Orleans when schools reopened, just weeks after Katrina hit, covering the story for PBS NewsHour. Merrow and his team returned frequently over the next six years to follow teachers, parents and students as they worked to rebuild their lives. REBIRTH: New Orleans weaves together personal stories of students, schools, education leaders, activists and critics to paint a nuanced and compelling portrait of a city reborn.

REBIRTH: New Orleans premieres worldwide on Netflix on October 22nd and will live-stream for two years. The DVD includes extra scenes and additional material.

John Merrow, joined by fellow PBS NewsHour correspondent John Tulenko, will be answering questions about the film in an online Q&A event on Monday, October 28th at 4:00pm EST. The event is to be screened via Livestream. More info can be found at http://rebirthnolafilm.com.


About Learning Matters:

Learning Matters is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit media production company focused on education. Founded by education journalist John Merrow in 1995, Learning Matters has produced more than 40 documentaries and hundreds of reports for PBS NewsHour. Its mission is to encourage and enrich public dialogue about education, youth and families.

About John Merrow:

John Merrow is the education correspondent for PBS NewsHour and President of Learning Matters, Inc. His accomplishments include the 2012 McGraw Prize in Education and two George Foster Peabody Awards.


Media Contact:

Amanda Morales

212-725-7000 x105

amorales@learningmatters.tv

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Teachers were not fired because they were rejected. State and OPSB cited funding. Please correct record. The teachers won a class-action law suit for wrongful termination.




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