Review by Mark Schwab
The statistics on the current state of America's college system are staggering:
1. Tuition has increased by 1,000% since 1978
2. Student loan debt has soared past all of the American credit card debt - over one trillion dollars.
3. 37% of recent college grads are working in jobs that do not require a degree.
As you can imagine, this is a gigantic - even overwhelming - problem for this country as colleges and universities struggle with decreased state and federal funding along with escalating administrative costs.
These are just a few of the problems addressed by the CNN-produced documentary Ivory Tower which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and will be broadcast later this fall.
We criss cross the country from Harvard University's legendary CS50 computer science class to the priorities of Arizona State building swimming pools and rec halls in order to lure more out of state students (who pay premium prices compared to the locals) all the way to a free college in Death Valley, CA where students learn agriculture and sustainability. All of this is still just a small sample of the subjects shown in this doc and it gets a bit dizzying as Ivory Tower covers a lot of ground but covers it quickly and without "diggin down" into it. This is a bit ironic since this is a primary criticism of the K-12 curriculum in this country - four miles wide and an inch deep.
However, this is still very worthy and even if it isn't very enlightening or shocking, it will absolutely spark major conversations and debate. Ivory Tower works best as a vehicle for raising questions and letting the audience have at it in the coffee shop after they've left the theatre.