The Best Documentaries About Education 

Ranker Film
Updated October 24, 2019 230 votes 106 voters 20k views 40 items

List Rules Documentaries about schools, teachers, teaching, and education.

This list has been ranked by the community to determine the best documentaries about education. This list includes popular and recognizable titles, along with a lot of independent documentary films about education to be voted on, with videos. What is the best documentary about education? This list will let you know!

With every vote, the order of the list will change to see which documentary about education comes out on top. If you do not see your favorite on the list, add it along with the existing titles so that others may vote on it as well. This list currently includes titles such as, Race to Nowhere about over-scheduled students who are pressured to succeed, and Waiting for Superman about public education and how it affects children.

Documentaries are nonfiction and made with the intention of displaying reality for historical purposes and to educate viewers. Most documentaries are driven by independent filmmakers and those passionate about the topics they are portraying.

Vote up your favorite documentaries about education below or add one you love that isn't already on the list.
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Race to Nowhere

Released: 2009

Directed by: Jessica Congdon, Vicki Abeles

Race to Nowhere is a 2009 documentary film written by Maimone Attia and directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon.
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Released: 2011

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Released: 2010

Directed by: Davis Guggenheim

Waiting for "Superman" is a 2010 documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. The film analyzes the failures of the American public education system by ...more
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Released: 2011

Directed by: Brian McGinn, Vanessa Roth

American Teacher is a 2011 documentary film co-directed by Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn and produced by The Teacher Salary Project. It follows the format of the book Teachers Have It Easy: The ...more
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Released: 2002

Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz

Spellbound is a 2002 documentary that was directed by Jeffrey Blitz. The film follows eight competitors in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The film was nominated for the Academy Award ...more
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Cory Booker, Geoffrey Canada, Joel Klein

Released: 2010

Directed by: Madeleine Sackler

The Lottery is a 2010 documentary film about the controversy surrounding public and charter schools in the United States, directed by Madeleine Sackler. The film was produced by Blake ...more
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Released: 2005

Directed by: Marilyn Agrelo

Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary film by director Marilyn Agrelo and writer and producer Amy Sewell about a ballroom dance program in the New York City Department of Education, the New York ...more
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The War on Kids

Released: 2009

Directed by: Cevin Soling

The War on Kids is a 2009 documentary film about the American school system. The film takes a look at public school education in America and concludes that schools are not only failing to ...more
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Released: 2007

Directed by: Weijun Chen

Please Vote for Me is a 2007 documentary film following the elections for class monitor in a 3rd grade class of eight-year-old children in the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. The ...more
I Am a Promise: The Chil... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Documentaries About Education

Released: 1993

Directed by: Susan Raymond

I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School is a 1993 documentary film about the pupils at Stanton Elementary School, an inner city school in Philadelphia. The film won the Academy ...more
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Precious Knowledge

Released: 2011

Directed by: Ari Palos

Precious Knowledge is a 2011 political documentary centered on the banning of the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District of Arizona. It was directed by Ari Palos ...more
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The Cartel

Released: 2009

Directed by: Bob Bowdon

The Cartel is a 2009 American documentary film by New Jersey-based television producer, reporter and news anchor Bob Bowdon, that covers the failures of public education in the United States by ...more
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Unfinished Spaces

Released: 2011

Directed by: Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias

Unfinished Spaces is a 2011 documentary film about the revolutionary design of the National Art Schools. The film tells the dramatic story of the art schools from their founding by Fidel Castro ...more
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Lili Asvar, Antonio Christina, Adam Behr

Released: 2008

Directed by: Nathan Frankowski

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a 2008 documentary film directed by Nathan Frankowski and starring Ben Stein. The film contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses ...more

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Released: 2010

Directed by: Abbas Kiarostami

First Graders is a 1984 Iranian documentary feature film directed by Abbas Kiarostami, in which a hidden camera follows a group of first graders during a day at school.
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Flock of Dodos Michael Behe, Randy Olson, Jack Cashill

Released: 2006

Directed by: Randy Olson

Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus is a documentary film by American marine biologist and filmmaker Randy Olson. It highlights the debate between proponents of the concept ...more
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Indoctrinate U

Released: 2007

Directed by: Evan Coyne Maloney

Indoctrinate U is a 2007 American feature-length documentary film written by, directed by and starring Evan Coyne Maloney, that examines controversial topics like equality and fairness, ...more
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Tom Bosley

Released: 2004

Directed by: Joe Fab, Elliot Berlin

The Paper Clips Project, by middle school students from the small southeastern Tennessee town of Whitwell, created a monument for the Holocaust victims of Nazi Germany. It started in 1998 as a ...more
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Shelby Knox

Released: 2006

Directed by: Rose Rosenblatt, Marion Lipschutz

The Education of Shelby Knox is 2005 documentary film that tells the coming-of-age story of public speaker and feminist Shelby Knox, a teenager who joins a campaign for comprehensive sex ...more
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The World's Best Prom

Released: 2006

Directed by: Chris Talbott, Ari Vena

Once a year, prom mania grips the entire population of Racine, Wisconsin. The city's extravagant celebration begins with a rowdy parade where students compete for the most outrageous form of ...more
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The World According to Sesame Street

Released: 2005

Directed by: Linda Goldstein Knowlton

The World According to Sesame Street is a 2006 documentary film created by Participant Productions, looking at the cultural impact of the children's television series Sesame Street, and the ...more
The Textbooks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Documentaries About Education
The Textbooks

Released: 2012

The Text Books is an Iranian documentary by Mahmoud Shoolizadeh. It introduces the strengths and weaknesses of textbooks in Iran, the editors, experts and teachers explain their views and critic ...more
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Small Wonders Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Arnold Steinhardt

Released: 1995

Small Wonders is a 1995 American documentary film directed by Allan Miller. The film follows a music teacher in East Harlem who teaches underprivileged children how to play the violin. It was ...more
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Prisoners of a White God

Released: 2008

Directed by: Steve Lichtag

Prisoners of a White God is a documentary about the Akha people, produced and distributed by Twin Star in September 2008. The documentary is about a Czech researcher, Tomáš Ryška, who ...more
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Released: 2009

Directed by: Mary Mazzio

Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon is a 2009 documentary film written, directed, and produced by Mary Mazzio about inner NYC teens that compete in an annual business plan competition run by the ...more