New Documentary Traces One Town’s Efforts to Reform Schools | ThinkTV

New Documentary Traces One Town’s Efforts to Reform Schools

Posted by Kellie May on

recent Southern Education Foundation report has uncovered that, for the first time in 50 years, the majority of students attending public schools across the United States live in poverty. An inspiring new documentary –  180 DaysHartsville – takes a fresh look at the nation’s poverty and education challenges from a rural South Carolina town triumphing in the face of extraordinary challenges. This two-hour special airs from 8pm to 10pm Tuesday, March 17, on ThinkTV16 and CET.

The documentary was filmed in two elementary schools struggling with new curriculum standards and maintaining funding, while meeting the needs of individual students. South Carolina ranks 45th in the country in education and the majority of Hartsville residents hover on the poverty line with a median income of less than $30,000 and more than half of the city’s students qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches.

Yet Hartsville is fighting the odds — and winning — with an astonishing 92 percent graduation rate in their city. This is a remarkable achievement considering that one-third of students from low-income families in many states did not graduate despite an increase in the national graduation rate of 80 percent for the class of 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This film was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative to stem the dropout crisis by supporting community-based solutions. ThinkTV and CET are both heavily involved in the American Graduate project. Learn more about our local efforts: and

A variety of clips and previews for 180 DaysHartsville can be viewed on our program pages at either or