The Lottery is a fine documentary that is certainly quite timely; it's no secret that the public school system in New York City and throughout many parts of the United States fails to adequately prepare our children for a bright future in which any career is possible. The film moves along quite well so that I never felt bored; indeed, the footage of children and their families waiting to be picked for a charter school in Harlem moved me considerably and it's a crime that not all of them and their peers could choose a charter school over a regular public school (referred to as a zone school which based on your address)--there's simply not enough room in the charter schools to educate all of the students who want to go there!
The film dispels the myth that underprivileged children will, almost by default, wind up doing poorly--we see children from troubled backgrounds with poverty, incarcerated parents and more making a success of themselves in the classroom. They can still have bright futures! These charter school children are reading at their expected grade level as opposed to children in the regular New York public school system in which children just aren't learning much--sometimes they read at a fourth grade level when they're in eighth grade!
It's quite something just to watch the footage of four children in particular as we get to know them and their immediate relatives; the parents want so badly for their children to get a superb education and avoid the regular public school system. We also see the effect the teacher's union has on the ability of the charter school system to grow--it fights the growth of charter schools because, as we see in this film, charter schools threaten public school union jobs--jobs with so much union protection that it is almost impossible to fire an incompetent teacher.
The DVD comes with four featurettes. They are brief but very well done. They show the poor ranking of United States schools when compared to schools in foreign countries; and there is an emphasis on taking responsibility for getting a high quality education instead of simply sitting back and blaming others or "the system."
Overall, I give The Lottery very high marks for being frank and poignant at once. Anyone interested in the issues surrounding public education in our country would do well to add this to their collection.