- Chris Ware, Graphic Novelist
Central Standard: On Education, an original web series, focuses on education as seen through the eyes of five 8th grade students at very different publicly-funded schools across Chicagoland. The stories follow these students' transition to high school. See the different layouts, strategies, and cultures that define the schools, a representation that takes on greater meaning when viewed in the contrasts among the different communities, representing both inner city and suburban systems, and both high and lower-performing schools. All of the schools are publicly-funded, including one charter school. Central Standard is brought to you by WTTW Chicago and Scrappers Film Group in partnership with PBS Digital Studios and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The show compares the experiences of five 8th grade students from different socioeconomic backgrounds as a lens to consider educational issues facing the nation at large, with the drama for the story turning on admission to Chicago Public Schools' 10 selective-enrollment high schools. Four of the five students applied to selective enrollment, and their families' navigation of that system is the subject of several episodes.
Featured are a student at Wilmette Jr. High School (Rahm Emanuel's alma mater), a student at an UNO network charter school, another at a "turnaround" (reconstituted) CPS neighborhood school, one at Walt Disney Magnet School (the city's first magnet), and another at a low-performing suburban school in Calumet City.
The story is told from the point of view of the students and their families, and aims to give voice to youth in the education discourse.