ABSTRACT

In April of 2006, the number-one talk show in America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, devoted a two-day special report on the crisis in American schooling (Winfrey, 2006). During the first episode, Oprah had several well-known guests who provided a depressing picture of public schools. Bill and Melinda Gates told Oprah that they were terrified about the disastrous consequences of the nation’s failing high school education system. CNN’s Anderson Cooper exposed viewers to the appalling conditions of a Washington, DC, school just a few minutes from the White House. Lisa Ling, an investigative journalist, revealed the silent epidemic in suburban America of the high dropout rate.1 During the episode, Oprah and her staff also conducted their own experiment of swapping inner-city Chicago public high school students with those from a suburban school to demonstrate the poor conditions of inner-city schools.