A Community Concern

A film giving visibility to the power of organizing as a way to improve urban public schools


Amy Shaw, Sr. VP of Community Engagement, managing the initiative for the CPB, writes, “The ability to view the film and segments on multiple platforms will be ideal for the community hubs around the country. I so appreciate the work that you are doing and think it is so important.”

Across the United States, graduation rates in most urban districts still remain between 50 and 60 percent. A Community Concern is a documentary about people who refuse to accept the system’s failures, and are working for change. Their spirit, passion and commitment shows that when organizers, parents, youth and educators work together, they are successful. It brings together stories of people facing different challenges, but share similar goals.

“[The film] highlights the failures each group confronts and how they craft their strategies… A Community Concern is a valuable resource from the front lines of education organizing.” – Norm Fruchter, Annenberg Institute for School Reform

“This documentary captures the spirit of parents’ and students’ struggles to confront problems in their schools that are too often seen as overwhelming” – Tom Dolan, California Organizer

This film can be screened in organizations, workshops, classrooms, forums, conferences, community gatherings or in your own home

A Community Concern is sectioned into chapters, so that the film can be viewed:

  • as a whole (75 mins)
  • as individual stories: Oakland, The Bronx and Boston
  • as a thematically grouped set of clips – see suggestions in Viewer Guide

The OAKLAND story shows how it is possible for community members, educators, and policy makers to come together to transform their School District.

The BRONX story shows how a group of organized youth can be the force behind designing their own high school.

The BOSTON story shows the importance of the relationship between school and parents, and how the school system adopted the reform that the community fought for.

A Community Concern is the central component of an outreach project built on partnerships with community and educational organizations

Our prime audiences are:

  • Organizers
  • Educators
  • Youth
  • Parents
  • Community members concerned with the state of education

As Oakland Community Organization (OCO) Director Ron Snyder explains, the goal of organizing ”is to take the best ideas, incorporate them into practice, and assist community members to get the power needed to maintain them.”