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American Teacher Premiere and Celebration


From the Teacher Salary Project:

Our documentary, American Teacher, will premiere on National Teacher Day, May 3, 2011, as part of the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival. The film is brought to you by Nínive Calegari and Dave Eggers of the Teacher Salary Project and is produced and directed by Academy-Award winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth. Following the premiere, the Teacher Salary Project will host an evening of celebration in honor of our nation's teachers, which will also serve as a fundraiser to launch this critical movement. (All ticket purchases are tax-deductible after $100 per person.)

We believe this is a challenging time for American education. There have been many and varied theories proposed about how to address the issue. Our theory is simple. In the next five years, over a million teachers will retire. And then we have a choice: we can continue with the current system of attracting teachers to the profession: low pay, long hours, little support, and no prestige. A system that results in high turnover and low morale, and prices out 85 percent of college graduates, who don't even consider the profession.

Or, we can change. Our theory is that if we increase compensation and improve conditions, we will attract the best college graduates. Those who might otherwise go into law or other lucrative fields will consider teaching. And with the best and the brightest in the profession, schools will get better. Far better. It’s not just a new idea, it’s a proven fact: research shows that a child’s academic success is all about the teachers.

Our film makes this point, but it's mostly a story of four exemplary young teachers, their lives and experiences, and the crisis they all faced — can I afford to continue to teach? Viewers leave the film outraged at a system that makes it so difficult for the best teachers to remain in the profession. We think this film could be the tipping point, after which everyone assumes that teacher pay and conditions need to improve if the United States is serious about competing on a global level.

If you live in San Francisco, please join us on May 3 for the big event. The film will screen at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and will be followed by dinner and drinks at Dosa, just across the street. Stay tuned for details about a musical guest. We hope this fundraiser will propel the film to its final stages while honoring the quality and commitment of our city’s best educators.