Watch The Lottery
- 1 hr 21 min
The Lottery follows the families of four children who are hopeful that they'll win the chance to attend Harlem Success Academy, one of the few reputable public schools. The documentary reveals that hundreds of thousands of parents from the Bronx and Harlem enter their children knowing the slim chances of a better future. The winners are rewarded with access to a charter school, while the rest are left to make the best of a poor public school education. While waiting in a packed auditorium, parents and children wait for their future to be determined. Being chosen ensures a chance to attend better middle schools, high schools and ultimately colleges. For those not picked, they're forced to watch their dreams crumble before their children have even entered a school system. The controversial lottery is the spring board for deeper issues that plague these New York communities. This documentary intertwines the personal stories of these families with the national debate of this system. The staff of the Harlem Success Academy explains the success rates in their school, while members of teacher's unions protest that these charter schools undermine the rights they've worked so hard to attain. The clash of opinions stretch further to underlying racial tension. The black community sees an influx in upper and middle-class white families entering the neighborhood and soon begin fighting to keep their schools, despite the fact that they are offering a sub-par education to their youth. When Eva Moskowitz, founder of Harlem Success Academy, proposes opening a second school, neighbors are pitted against each other in a vicious debate of releasing an abandoned school without the guarantee of their child attending. Both informative and entertaining, The Lottery explores the concept that America is a nation built on equality but doesn't offer equal education to all. Despite all of the other issues, The Lottery ultimately explores a system of determining a child's future based entirely on luck.