A new paper from Professor Margareth Etienne, an expert in education law, examines the fictional portrayal of popular educational policy reforms favored by academics and policymakers in the fourth season of “The Wire,” the critically acclaimed TV show on HBO from 2002-08, and reviews what the show got right and wrong in its depiction of how a large, urban public school functions in a community.
With the characters and the narrative of “The Wire” as a backdrop, the paper explores how policies such as school uniforms, the importance of role models, curricular innovations, tracking and standardized testing affected the lives of students, teachers and school administrators at a fictionalized public school in East Baltimore, said Etienne.
“I used ‘The Wire’ as a reference point to focus on what we know and what we think we know about public education,” she said. “I examine the school as an institution in urban communities. The 10th anniversary of the completion of ‘The Wire’ provides an accessible opportunity to look at what we’ve learned since then and discern what works and what doesn’t, both on the show and in real life.”
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