Education in 'The Rule' Documentary

The fact that inner city students have a lower graduation and college admission rate than nearly any other population of students is no secret, and that statistic is only compounded by issues of race. Every day I'm thankful that my students are lucky enough to be spending their days at a well-funded, well-rounded school: but not every student is as lucky, and there hasn't been enough action taken to reform inner city and other failing education systems to help these at-risk students succeed. Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School, a high school in Newark, New Jersey, run by the Benedictine monks of Newark Abbey, has recorded a near 100 percent college-acceptance rate for their predominantly African American and Latino young men -- a rate that soars well above the average for the city. Filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno profile the school and the monks to learn how and why they achieve what they do. The answer, they say, lies in a 1,500 year old code called "The Rule." The 72-chapter philosophy( or "common sense guide"), written in the 6th century by St. Benedict of Nursia, guides the Benedictine monks on how they should live in the community, with an emphasis on serving others. The instant I heard this, I liked the sound of it: a life built on the joy one can find by making others happy, is a joyous life indeed! Newark is known for it's high crime rate, high poverty rate, and high unemployment rate: the monks feel that these distractions make it nearly impossible for even the most devoted student to succeed. And so, the school year lasts 11 months. Each day is built in with time for experiential learning and counseling, if needed. If a student ever feels like they can't go home, there is a 24/7 residence available. Put simply: these students are finally given a chance. While I don't think providing all of these things in every city in America would be an easy feat, nor would it work for every student. Still, these monks are trying to give students a chance in a way they haven't been granted before, and that might be what makes all the difference. Check out the trailer above, and search your local listings to find a channel time or screening near you.

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