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Reveal Presents: The View from Room 205

In 2014, WBEZ Chicago reporter Linda Lutton followed a class of fourth-graders at William Penn Elementary school on Chicago’s West Side. It’s a community where two-thirds of schools have closed, been turned into charter schools or had their entire staffs replaced, from the principal to the lunch ladies.

Lutton wanted to explore a big idea that’s at the heart of the American dream: Can public schools be the great equalizer in society, giving everyone a chance to succeed, no matter where they come from or how much money their families have?

But what if that idea is wrong? What if schools can’t overcome poverty?

That question took Lutton into the lives of fourth-graders, teachers and administrators at William Penn to expose the pressures they are facing, and the chances they are given.

Reveal presents a condensed version of the Peabody Award-nominated documentary, “The View from Room 205.”

Reveal is a weekly radio program produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. For more, check out our website and subscribe to our podcast.