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    The TEACHED Blog


    Where Your Money Goes When You Donate to TEACHED

    TEACHED is a not-for-profit project produced by Loudspeaker Films, an independent film company with a social justice mission. TEACHED addresses some of today's most challenging education issues, from the under-education and over-incarceration of minority youth to the fight over teacher tenure.

    The first set of TEACHED short films, TEACHED Vol. I, has been screened over 60 times across the country at interactive, community-based events that bring people together for candid discussion, response and action-planning. These screenings have featured speakers ranging from teachers, former gang members, parents and local leaders to national figures including BAEO Founder Howard Fuller, former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and Dropout Nation's RiShawn Biddle. TEACHED Vol. I won two film festival awards and was named by TakePart as one of 10 Education Documentaries Not to Miss. The TEACHED Vol. I films plus our ancillary video content (such as our "On the Loudspeaker" interview series and videos we've produced with students) have been viewed online nearly 300,000 times.

    When you support TEACHED with a donation, your money goes towards:

    • Production and post-production of the films. We currently have six new short films and our first feature-length film in production. Donations we receive right now will help us finish TEACHED Vol. II before the end of the year.
    • Organizing interactive screenings of TEACHED Vol. I for university students, teachers, parents and other audiences seeking education action in their community. We require a modest screening fee from groups hosting a TEACHED screening, but provide them with much more than the fee covers, including collateral art and planning assistance to ensure a successful, high-impact event.
    • Outreach. Your donations support staff to update our website, social media and marketing; develop relationships with targeted groups; and build a strong foundation of support for TEACHED now and into the future.

    We have been overwhelmed by the response to TEACHED Vol. I and the incredible support we have received from parents, community leaders, donors, film and marketing professionals (providing their services pro bono or at reduced rates), and non-profit groups of all sizes. Because of this support, we know the time is right for TEACHED: for putting new voices "on the Loudspeaker" and for helping the public understand why and how education in America must be transformed.

    We thank you for your support and helping us share the stories of students, parents, teachers and education leaders on film. If you'd like to make a donation today, please click below.




    TEACHED 2nd Annual Fine Wine & Art Auction 


    -- Ends Tomorrow! --

    For all you last minute bidders, now is the time to bid and support TEACHED!  Thanks to many generous supporters, we are pleased to bring you an even bigger and better ONLINE AUCTION this year to benefit TEACHED. The auction ends tomorrow Thursday, April 17th at 10:00pm EST.
    bartender flyer v1-1
    This year's auction features many spectacular and hard-to-get wines from newcomers including Soutirage (providing our first French wine), Hand of God (our first wine from Argentina), Kelham Vineyards, Silverado and Relic Wines, and returning wine favorites including Marston Family Vineyards,ViaderEonianPeju, Realm, Whitehall LaneFisher Family and Volunteer.
    For our foodie fans we have gift certificates from Farmstead, Lucy Restaurant at Bardessono, Cook in St. Helena, CA, and Ray's the Steaks in Washington, DC. We also have the ultimate treat to pair with fine wine: extra olive oil roasted almonds from our friends at La Saison.
    Other goodies include passes to the Napa Valley Film Festival, a gift package from the Wine Sisterhood, a spa treatment and private yoga lesson from Health Spa Napa Valley and wine tastings from lovely places like the Acme Wine Shop and Peju Winery. The fine art this year features professional photography with truly stunning works from Dana UnderwoodJason Lang and Sanjay Seth.

    Proceeds from the online auction will help us finish production on the next three TEACHED short films, or TEACHED Vol. II, hopefully before the end of 2014! Please support our efforts and treat yourself by bidding in the auction. If you have an item to donate, please contact Ashley Johnson at



                      For more information contact:


    TEACHED at BAEO Black Alliance for Educationial Options Symposium 2014

    We are proud to be presenting TEACHED and our interactive screening model at this year's Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) Symposium being held in New Orleans. We will be showing clips from our films and talking to the Emerging Leaders of BAEO's Bailey-Sullivan Leadership Institute on how to organize communities and advocate for educational equality using our short films. 

    BAEO’s Annual Symposium has convened for 14 years to inform, inspire, and empower emerging leaders (age 16-35), parents, educators, elected officials, community leaders, and clergy from across the country as they work to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working class Black families. The Symposium remains the largest gathering of Black education reform supporters in the nation, drawing as many as 1,000 participants.

    BAEO was founded by Dr. Howard Fuller, an inspiration to the TEACHED series and a star of our short film The Blame Game: Teachers Speak Out.  He has also just announced the publication of his new book "No Struggle, No Progress" coming out in the fall.  We send our congratulations and can't wait to read it!





    On the Loudspeaker: Vergara v. California

    Court resumed this week in the Vergara v. California case, a statewide lawsuit of nine California public school children looking to strike down the laws that limit schools from often doing what’s best for kids when it comes to assigning who is teaching them.

    The case is being lead by the organization Students Matter, a non-profit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch, which is dedicated to promoting equal access to quality public education.

    The Students Matter goal is to see a transformation of the teaching profession in California so that hard-working, effective teachers are rewarded and retained, and others who are not up to the job are not kept in the classroom and on the payroll. Ultimately, Students Matter seeks to create an opportunity for lawmakers, teachers, administrators, and community leaders to rethink the current system so it works rationally for teachers and students alike.

    We are honored that the TEACHED Vol. I short films are included as trial exhibits in this potentially game-changing lawsuit. We have seen far too many amazing teachers booted from the classroom due to lack of seniority while others who are not able to manage a successful classroom remain for years, sometimes decades. We have even seen teachers who have abused children (with clear evidence to prove it) paid to leave because the system we currently have in place makes it nearly impossible to fire even them.

    Some argue that efforts to rethink tenure and seniority are really about making it easier to fire older teachers (who are farther up on the salary scale) and replace them with younger "less expensive" teachers. Ironically, the polar opposite is the reality: when California's economic woes required laying off teachers over the last few years, teachers were pink-slipped according to seniority only, and because those who have been in the system for fewer years are lesser-paid, i.e. the newer, younger teachers, many more of them had to be laid off to save the required amount. For kids, that is a lose-lose situation.

    Not only did California push out thousands of new-ish teachers who had devoted themselves to teaching (unlike many other professions, new teachers must pay for their own training in the form of a teaching credential, so it is a time and financial commitment before you ever get hired), it also convinced college students here who had been thinking about going into teaching to look elsewhere.

    There is much to read on the Students Matter website to better understand this case; don't miss their timeline, trial tracker, short clips of the teacher's testimonies, their blog and their Twitter account for the lastest updates. People say that "as California goes, so goes the nation". If this case succeeds here (my guess is it will reach the U.S. Supreme Court), it could spark a national movement to transform the teaching profession.



    TEACHED Vol. I at South-by-Southwest EDU

    We are thrilled that TEACHED Vol. I will be screened at the innovative SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas this year.

    If you are attending, please join us on March 4th at 2pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to watch the TEACHED Vol I trilogy of short films and hear from Producer/Director Kelly Amis and our amazing lineup of guest speakers including former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty:

    Pearl Arredondo is an amazing teacher and star of our film The Blame Game: Teachers Speak Out, who received much acclaim for her candid Ted-Ed talk last year.  

    Pearl grew up in East Los Angeles, the daughter of a high-ranking gang member. Explaining that she was written off by teachers when she was a student, Pearl is now inspiring both other teachers and students with her work as the founder of a teacher-run pilot school and education advocate.

    RiShawn Biddle is the Publisher and Editor of Dropout Nation, a website of commentary and analysis of American public education that is required reading for anyone who believes in education equality for all children.  

    An acclaimed reporter and current columnist with The American Spectator, RiShawn now has over 20,000 unique readers visiting Dropout Nation each month to learn about the policies and practices that contribute to the achievement gap, the depths of our nation's dropout crisis and related issues including juvenile justice.


    Adrian Fenty, recent Mayor of Washington, DC, has much to be proud about for the reforms he ushered into a long-dysfunctional and failing education system, reforms that have proven effective and are still evolving today under Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.

    On his first day as mayor, Adrian introduced legislation to assume control of the public school system; once approved, he brought in founder of The New Teacher Project Michelle Rhee to serve as Chancellor. Together, they pursued a difficult but necessary reduction of the system's central office staff and underused school facilities as well as a new performance-based compensation plan for teachers. 

     Kalimah Priforce runs Qeyno Labs, which works with local schools and partners to make "career day" an everyday experience for the millions of students that cannot afford private college and career guidance.

    An Echoing Green/Black Male Achievement Fellow, Kalimah is committed to empowering the minority-led startup community throughout the country and is also educator-in-residence for the Oakland-based "Hidden Genius Project", a program that trains black male youth in entrepreneurial thinking, software development, and user experience design

    We hope to see you in Texas with plenty of questions for our esteemed panelists. For more details about our screening event at SXSWedu go HERE.


    The Many Ways to Host a Successful Interactive TEACHED Screening

    Since its premiere, TEACHED Vol I has been screened more than fifty times coast-to-coast by groups and individuals committed to educational equality.  Education champions are using this trilogy of short documentary films to engage their communities and provoke thoughtful debate around education issues, especially the school-to-prison pipeline, teacher quality and charter schools.

    Whether your screening is for 8 or 800 people, we can assist you in making sure your event has maximum impact. Here are some ways you can use the TEACHED Vol. I films to raise awareness around education inequality nationally or in your community: 

    Show All Three Short Films At Once

    TEACHED Vol. I includes three short films, all under 15 mins, which allows you to host one screening interspersed with guest speakers and panel discussions after each one.

    We can assist you in securing speakers at your event and help you create an agenda to possibly include a reception, live entertainment, audience Q&A, information tables and more!


    Screen Each Film Individually

    Screening the films individually gives you time to more deeply immerse your audience in the issues each one addresses and discuss how they effect your community locally.  

    Interactive screenings are effective ways to group together and find solutions for education equality within your hometown.  Consider ending your event with time for group brainstorming and action-planning.  


    Have Your Local Library Purchase the TEACHED DVD for Screenings

    Ask your local library to purchase the DVD for screening use and encourage your colleagues and friends to (literally) check it out.  You can have the screenings in your home, in your dorm or practically anywhere!

    Your library might even help you host a screening onsite as well. This is an excellent way to really get the word out and host many intimate screenings.



    Be sure to take advantage of the many resources we have including staff to help you plan your event, marketing materials such as posters and flyers, our email and social media community where we can promote your screening and even tee shirts and swag for you to purchase.  

    We have met a lot of amazing people through TEACHED interactive screenings and we look forward to connecting with you and your community.

    For more details and information please see our Host A Screening page or contact us directly at




    The most recent One Day, Teach for America’s alumni magazine, featured a fantastic article about Kelly's journey into filmmaking and the motivation behind TEACHED. In "Mini-Lessons" (pg. 61) writer Calvin Hennick does a great job capturing the potential of the TEACHED short film format and interactive screening model.

    As Kelly says in the article, "with film, you can reach people at a more visceral puts a face to the issues and connects people in ways that stats, research and analysis never will.” If you are looking for a way to engage your community in education reform, consider hosting a TEACHED Vol. I screening today.

    Also don’t miss the profiles of Kelly and the other 2013 TFA-Social Innovation & Excellence in Teaching Award Winners (same issue, pages 68-72).



    Thanks to all of you who participated in our LIVE GoogleChat with React to Film. To learn more, we highly recommend:

    - Reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

    - Watching 12 Years a Slave, notice how one of the slave owners' greatest fears is their slaves learning how to read and write.

    - Watching videos on our Youtube page, TEACHEDTV.

    - Organizing a screening of TEACHED Vol. I to bring more people into the conversation. Go to our Screenings Page. We will help you organize a meaningful event.

    - Checking out the organizations we've listed on our Take Action Page. These are just a few of the best organizations working for education equality today.

    - VOTE for and support candidates for public office who will demand change in our education and judicial systems.

    Missed the Google LIVE Chat? Watch it now:


    REACT to FILM Presents a LIVE Google Hangout with TEACHED: The Path to Prison Director Kelly Amis





    Join us on Wednesday, February 5th at 5pm PST (8pm EST) for the REACT to FILM LIVE GoogleHangoutOnAir with our very own TEACHED: The Path to Prison Producer/Director Kelly Amis.

    REACT to FILM is an organization that focuses on leveraging documentary filmmaking to promote social responsibility and spark civic engagement through their High School Education Program and College Action Network.  

    Thanks to the hard work from REACT to FILM and its college chapter leaders, The Path to Prison was recently screened at over forty universities across the country. We thank them so much for their partnership and hard work.

    To participate in the online conversation, be sure to watch the short film The Path to Prison on SnagFilms here if you have not seen it already and then join the Google Hangout here.  Then you will be ready to fire up any questions you may have for Kelly regarding the difficult issues presented by the school to prison pipeline.

    On Twitter?  Use #teached #pathtoprison #edequality hashtags to share and continue the conversation with @KellyAmis and @TEACHED!


    The Heart of the Matter: A HealthCorps Story New York City Premiere with Director Kelly Amis

    Hosted by 

    Scholastic Inc.

    557 Broadway New York, New York 10012

    Click to read more ...