A Response To The Chronicle Of Higher Education

On Monday, February 18, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article entitled “Forthcoming Film Is Defense of For-Profit Colleges, Critics Say,” that is about the production of our documentary film, Reconstructing the Dream, and fundraising efforts related to the project. The report claims that our film, which is in the early stages of editing, is an emotionally charged defense of for-profit colleges and an attack on government. The article is filled with misinformation designed to bring scrutiny to the project and that completely misguides readers about the intentions of our documentary.
 
Our crew and production team are frustrated and disappointed by this report. Despite numerous conversations and information exchanges with The Chronicle, the article's author directly ignored our explanation of the film’s concept, which results in a complete distortion in the intentions behind the project. The writer based his interpretation of our documentary on an early trailer for the film that he found during his research. The clip was posted to a video clip library nearly a year ago. We regret that we simply neglected to remove the clip once changing directions with the project. While we explained to the author that the concept of the film had evolved greatly over the last year — in fact, becoming a look at the entire US education system and its failure to meet the demand for skills workers in the American labor force — the reporter chose to concentrate on a direction that we had long since decided against. In fact, we provided the writer the actual film trailer, as well as clips from the film, but those were apparently ignored. It seems the facts got in the way of the story.   
 
We believe our attempt to use fundraising websites, such as Kickstarter.com and FracturedAtlas.com, to generate funds for the film’s distribution are consistent with a key message in the film: real change will not come to our education system until there is a groundswell of support among the general public. We have received numerous donations to date from people throughout America (and overseas) who are impassioned by our subject matter, and we continue to be hopeful that our fundraising efforts will be a success.
 
We feel The Chronicle’s article was a deliberate attempt to “create news” as opposed to reporting it — to discount our efforts to tell the story of the skills gap and its impact on students from a variety of institutions to live their own version of the American dream.
 
When the final cut of the film is available for viewing this spring, viewers will see The Chronicle's article is a gross distortion of our efforts to draw attention to the skills gap issue. But please know that in no way has The Chronicle or its effort to undermine our project altered the direction of our film. Our script was completed earlier this winter, and it's our intention to keep to it as written.
 
We would implore The Chronicle to print a follow-up article once our film is released, but as you might imagine, we do not feel we can depend on an accurate report from a news agency insistent on sensationalizing their news. They have lost our respect as readers, and as colleagues concerned about the future of our education system.
 
Sincerely,
 
Michael Platt
Executive Producer, Reconstructing the Dream

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