School: The Story of American Public Education

By Sheila Curran Bernard (Writer) 
Produced by Sarah Patton and Sarah Mondale; directed by Sarah Mondale. PBS, 2001

SCHOOL: The Story of American Public Education is a four-hour documentary series that chronicles the development of the United States’ public education system from the late 1770s to the 21st century. Produced by Stone Lantern Films, and presented by KCET/Hollywood, SCHOOL (narrated by Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep) recaptures the idealism of the early proponents of public education and continues with an unflinching look at the experiments and challenges that contribute to the climate in the classroom today

Ten years in the making, SCHOOL journeys through history and across the nation, weaving archival footage, on-site coverage, rare interviews and expert commentary into an unprecedented portrait of America's great education experiment. Designed to place today's issues into historical context, SCHOOL takes viewers on a 200-year journey, from colonial times to the present, in four chronological episodes. Throughout the series are interviews with witnesses, both famous and relatively unknown, who play key roles in public education's dramatic story. Leading experts in education history also lend their insights to each episode of SCHOOL. Episode 1 - The Common School (1770 - 1890) Episode 2 - As American As Public School (1900 - 1950) Episode 3 - Equality (1950 - 1980) Episode 4 - The Bottom Line (1980 - the present).

A companion book based on the series was published in 2002 by Beacon Press.