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Testing Hope

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Louisiana children are not alone in facing high-stakes testing like the LEAP exam. Students in South Africa face the Matric exam in 12th grade in order to graduate and qualify for univerity enrollment. Testing Hope follows a class in a township outside Cape Town, but they are among a very special generation " the first students to enter the public school system after the fall of apartheid. The similarities to the integration of American schools are striking. What's fundamentally at stake is the way in which opportunities are nominally equal but the facilities and evnironments are not. These students attend a school that has no heat in the winter and too few desks. It is contrasted with a school where white students work at computers and play tennis and water polo. As the fist generation with real chances for advancement, many of the young people see the university as a means to move their families out of poverty and homes that lack running water. Students who celebrate passing the test, however, know that they must still spend time studing to catch up with their future college classmates as they strive to enter programs in law and civil engineering. It's a long road ahead, but they have already come very far. A discussion with filmmaker Molly Blank will follow the screening. Local students will make a presentation about the film at 5:30 p.m. The screening starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. Free admission. — Will Coviello

6:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30

Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070 ; www.ashecac.org

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