|The New Public|
|Attempting to reconcile idealism and reality at a Brooklyn public school.|
The New Public (Jyllian Gunther, USA, 2012; 86 min.) It’s August 2006, just days before Brooklyn Community Arts and Media high school (BCAM) will open its doors for the first time. Dr. James O’Brien, former D.J. and point guard turned first-time principal, and his faculty of eight, take to the streets in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn to recruit students. Their enthusiasm is infectious and their ethos is enticing: to build strong personal relationships, meet kids where they are at and provide unconventional arts and media electives taught by local artists. From the first day of school, the buzz from the student body (a single class of 104 freshman) is that this is a dream come true. But as the months go by, conflicts arise when “the honeymoon is over.”
Their story explores issues of class, race and culture in the contemporary battlefield of urban education. It’s a case study and a detailed map for the road ahead.