By Andrea Simakis
The Plain Dealer
If you think you’ve seen everything you need to know about the crisis in urban education after watching “Waiting for Superman,” think again. Director Laura Paglin spent three years inside Entrepreneurship Preparatory School, a charter school on Cleveland’s East Side that boasts test scores that are among the highest in the state. Smartly, Paglin focuses her lens on one student, seventh-grader Tyree Stewart, a charmer who arrives at E Prep barely able to read but with dreams of becoming a “billionaire scientist.” Paglin follows him through the halls as he tries to acclimate to his strict, new environment — 10-hour school days; no screaming at teachers; a dress code that demands belts, jackets and ties — and survive an increasingly chaotic home life. (The title is a reference to the admonishment students receive in detention — head off the table, eyes facing forward). Tyree’s journey is as dramatic and moving as any work of fiction but more heart-wrenching because it’s real. The final minutes of the film are jaw-dropping, “Facing Forward’s” lessons vital to the human curriculum.
What: A documentary about E Prep, a Cleveland charter school. (2011/USA) 66 minutes.
When: 9:45 a.m. Saturday in the Cleveland International Film Festival.