Richard Cohen Films - Going to School (Ir a la Escuela)
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Going To School (Ir a la Escuela) - 64 minutes

Going To School - Video Box Cover


Directed, Produced, Edited, Written,
Narrated by Richard Cohen
Cinematography by Baird Bryant
Camera Assistant Mario Ruiz
Available in English (closed captions)

or Spanish language version
     También a su disposición - DVD en español

$119 college, university, institution and business with PPR
$39   home video/DVD for personal use

Watch Full Movie FREE!



"Highly recommended for virtually all libraries... invaluable for in-service training of teaching professionals,
as well as required viewing for student teachers."
  EDUCATIONAL MEDIA REVIEWS ONLINE, Rue Herbert University of South Florida, Tampa
  (Read entire review)

"Going To School ~ Ir a la Escuela is unique because it illustrates the perspectives of the disabled students. It beautifully shows how the students value their disabled peers, both as friends and mentors as they plan for their futures as integrated members of society. Parents,disabled children, educators and policy makers should see this film."
   Judith E. Heumann, Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, U.S. Department of State,
   and Jorge Pineda, Accountant, National Council on Independent Living




Watch Complete Documentary Free Here


3 Girls exiting doorway

"Poignant...invaluable resource for parents, educators and policy makers."     
  BOOKLIST, Nancy McCray

"A wonderful film...sends a powerful and positive message."   
  LIBRARY JOURNAL, Lori Lampert ,
  SUNY at Brockport


Going To School (Ir a la Escuela) provides a captivating look at the daily experiences of students receiving special education services, and examines gains made by the Los Angeles Unified School District toward compliance with civil rights laws that guarantee a quality education for all children. The documentary focuses on the lives of three seventh graders and a second grader, and reveals the determination of their parents to see that these children receive an equal education.

Selected by National Video Resources
for the 2004 Human Rights Video Project


 Boy Closeup

"Compelling and uplifting... excellent resource for school counselors, administrators, and teachers, as well as for students of all grade levels when discussing discrimination, differences, or ethics."
   Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville, Florida

   (read review)

"Inspirational...a film that recognizes the journey many of us go through."
   Ann O'Neil , parent, California


"Going To School always prompts incredible interest and discussion. It is a wonderful film that brings such issues as inclusion, disabilities, families, collaboration, and the law to life. This film is truly a staple in many courses in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. Instructors for our course Education of Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Students with Exceptional Needs very often show this film. Students in various programs including administration, elementary and secondary instruction, counseling, school psychology and special education must take this course."
   Terese Jimenez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education, Loyola Marymount University

"The Latino emphasis on family involvement is also at the forefront of this excellent film..."
   Jennifer Perry, PROYECTO VISION


"The genuine and moving portrayal of these families’ experiences powerfully illustrates the struggles
that rehabilitation psychologists and social workers will face in working with those with SCI."
  Bret A. Boyer, PhD , coordinator, Widner University's Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology,

"These young students and their parents are illuminating examples of the power of persistence, determination
and hard work --role models for all of us. I have been working in the field of special education
since the 1980s and this is one of the best films I've seen!"
  Betty Carlson, Ph.D, University of Arizona

"Incredibly inspiring film...a must see for all future educators!"
  Kimberlye P. Joyce, M.Ed., Director, Curriculum Materials Center Department of Education,
  University of Richmond

Boy Seated     In one scene, Sandra Renteria recalls attending school everyday for three years with her son before the school informed her that he was entitled to an aid and sign language interpreter. The boy has become the first student to be included in regular classes in his middle school. Sandra, as shown in the film, now works as a parent advocate.

"'GOING TO SCHOOL' is not only about children going to school; it is a tale of empowering parents to go to school on behalf of their children. Sociology students at all levels can benefit from this story.

... it becomes clear that the problem of ensuring appropriate educational opportunities to children with special needs is a family issue, a potential social problem and issuefor a rather significant social institution. Hence, this film provides interesting opportunities to expand discussion in social problems classes, marriage and family classes, introductory sociology classes, sociology of law and medical sociology classes. This film may even have applications in race and ethnicity classes.

The film clarifies the "least restrictive" concept, and the reality of "least restrictive" as practiced in schools. Further, and perhaps as important as any concept covered in the film, discrimination against a social class becomes visible...."
  TEACHING SOCIOLOGY,    Read entire review...
  Sharon Larson, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Ana in wheelchair on bus lift

  Ana's mother, working seven days a week to support her children, needed to travel to school to untangle the paperwork that placed her daughter who uses a wheelchair into segregated special education classes. The determination of both the mother and daughter pay off as evidenced in scenes of Ana in classes and with her friends. Ana's fierce independence yields to tenderness as she describes how her life changed when a grenade was hurled into her yard in El Salvador, "making a hole in my spine."

"Excellent for research purposes and a fantastic tool to use with undergraduates to introduce
the intersections of disability, race, ethnicity, gender and power. Compelling and intellectually rigorous."  
Dr. Lesley Bogad, Educational Studies, Rhode Island College

"Excellent. Thought provoking, practical, realistic and it illustrates the necessary advocacy required by parents to address the special needs of their child with a school system."
  Gil Carmona, Assistant Dean, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Orange County

"Heart-wrenching...Bravo" DAILY VARIETY, Army Archerd

"Incredible video! I recommend it for everyone with an I.E.P." Beth Randall, parent, Illinois

"A powerful film...It will force the viewer to re-evaluate their own position on a variety of things, from the nature of our educational and social systems to our own beliefs and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Go to school, see 'Ir a la Escuela', the children have much to teach us and we have much to learn."
  JOURNAL OF POVERTY, Alfred Joseph, Associate Professor,
  Dept. of Family Studies and Social Work, Miami University, Ohio

Boy in wheelchair on stage "I co-taught, with a professor, a class on disability culture. I used this film and it was awesome. One of the best films I've seen on the issue of schools and accessibility."
    Naomi Ortiz,
    Kids As Self Advocates, Arizona
    and National Disabled Students Union

"I think every school administrator should see it as well as teachers, parents, and also students, since they are the peers of the kids who are joining the mainstream and need to have as much of their interaction as possible be positive and supportive... Very informative coverage of major issues such as civil rights and equal access,mainstreaming, knowledge and openness (or lack of it) of school staff, emotional/social/cultural factors, and communication problems. Excellent handling of bilingual aspects."
  Ruth E. Andersen, Ph.D., Program Specialist
  Children with Special Health Care Needs Program, Texas Dept. of Health



Official Selection:
First International Moscow
Disability Film Festival: "Breaking Down Barriers":
Vermont International Film Festival
East Lansing Film Festival
Woodstock Museum Film Festival
Dallas Video Festival


Going To School (Ir a la Escuela) was commissioned by the Class Member Review Committee of the Chanda Smith Consent Decree in Los Angeles as mandated by US District Court. Credits: Produced, directed, edited by Richard Cohen ; cinematography by Baird Bryant; camera assistant Mario Ruiz ; translation by Sonia Thaler ; sound, written & narrated by Richard Cohen ; narrated in Spanish by Carmen Mann-Rivera ; additional editing by Barry Goch ; audio mix by Michael Herald ; editing consultant Sharon Franklin . Consulting members of the CMRC: Barbara Marbach, Chair; Emma Guanlao, Lucy Matsumoto, Helen Wu . C.PAI, 2001

Going To School
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