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127 voters

The Best Documentaries About Education

Updated May 14, 2021 404 votes 127 voters 23.5k views42 items

List RulesDocumentaries 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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  • 1
    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 Big...  more
  • 2
    28
    9

    Race to Nowhere

    Race to Nowhere is a 2009 documentary film written by Maimone Attia and directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon....  more
  • 3
    18
    0

    Mad Hot Ballroom

    Heather Berman, Emma Therese Biegacki

    Released2005

    Directed byMarilyn 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 City...  more
  • 4
    20
    2

    The Lottery

    Cory Booker, Geoffrey Canada

    Released2010

    Directed byMadeleine 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
  • 5
    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 for...  more
  • 6
    14
    4

    The Cartel

    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
  • 7
    12
    2

    Teached

  • 8
    9
    0

    The War on Kids

    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 educate,...  more
  • 9
    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 following...  more
  • 10
    8
    2

    Unfinished Spaces

    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 and...  more
  • 11
    7
    0

    Class Dismissed: a Film About Learning Outside of the Classroom

  • 12
    9
    4

    The Textbooks

    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 the...  more
  • 13
    6
    0

    Precious Knowledge

    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 and...  more
  • 14
    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
  • 15
    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
  • 16
    3
    2

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

    Lili Asvar, Antonio Christina

    Released2008

    Directed byNathan 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 academics who...  more
  • 17
    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....  more
  • 18
    2
    0

    Flock of Dodos

    Michael Behe, Randy Olson

    Released2006

    Directed byRandy 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 of...  more
  • 19
    2
    8

    Indoctrinate U

    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, diversity,...  more
  • 20

    Released2004

    Directed byJoe 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 simple...  more
  • 21

    Released2006

    Directed byRose 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 education in...  more
  • 22
    2
    0

    The World's Best Prom

    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
  • 23
    4
    0

    The World According to Sesame Street

    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
  • 24
    4
    2

    Small Wonders

    Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern

    Released1995

    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
  • 25
    0
    0

    Homeroom

    Denilson Garibo, Libby Schaaf

    Released2021

    Directed byPeter Nicks

    Homeroom is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Peter Nicks. Following the class of 2020 at Oakland High School in a year marked by seismic change, exploring the emotional world of teenagers...  more