Education That is Must-See Television: Schedule Sept. 12-17

Elisa Lichtenbaum | September 6, 2016

Spotlight on Education

When our viewers and supporters think of the value THIRTEEN brings to our community, education is often front and center. Whether it’s the programs you watch that entertain and educate or the educational programming we air like Nature, NOVA, and American Experience, or our children’s programming like Sesame Street and Cyberchase, education has been at the core of our mission since we launched over 50 years ago, and it’s the heart of what we do at THIRTEEN year round.

As we celebrate PBS Education Week and American Graduate Day this month, (Monday, September 12 – Thursday September 15; and Saturday, September 17), our commitment to education takes center stage.

Time for School

17-year-old Shugufa, in 11th grade, poses with her parents in Afghanistan

17-year-old Shugufa, in 11th grade, poses with her parents in Afghanistan, 2009. Photo: Ruhi Hamid, 2009

One of the highlights of this special line-up is Time for School (Monday, September 12, 8 pm), a new documentary from THIRTEEN that spotlights the 12-year journey of five extraordinary children in five countries as they struggle to secure a basic education. Time for School reveals the human stories behind the underreported global crisis of education access in developing countries.

The film introduces viewers to Nanavi in Benin, Jefferson in Brazil, Neeraj in India, Joab in Kenya, and Shugufa in Afghanistan, and follows them from their first year of school in 2003 to the time of their hoped-for high school graduation in 2016. Told through the point of view of the children and their families, the film presents the contrasting lives of those who were forced to abandon schooling and those who are still following their dreams. It tells the story of what’s at stake when war, abject poverty, or just being a girl stands between a child and the simple promise of a basic education.

This unique 12-year documentary project was inspired by the Millennium Development Goal of “Education for All,” a promise that 189 nations made to the United Nations in 2000, to provide every child around the world with a free primary education by 2015.

See the Time for School website for videos and photo galleries of the five students.

American Graduate: Mentors and Champions

Shaquille O'Neal will discuss the Boys and Girls Clubs in Newark, NJ -- which he attended as a child and supports to this day -- on American Graduate Day. Watch on THIRTEEN Saturday, September 17 at 2pm.

Shaquille O’Neal will discuss the Boys and Girls Clubs in Newark, NJ — which he attended as a child and supports to this day — on American Graduate Day. Watch on THIRTEEN Saturday, September 17 at 2pm.

The high school graduation rate in the United States has hit a record high at 82.3 percent, according to the 2016 Building a Grad Nation* report. Despite this progress, more work is needed to ensure we hit our 90 percent goal by 2020, particularly among students of color, students from low-income families, and young people with disabilities whose graduations are lagging behind the national average.

Closing this critical gap is one of the key challenges faced by American educators, caregivers, and communities, and the focus area for the fifth annual American Graduate Day (Sat 17th, 2 p.m.), a four-hour live broadcast featuring notable celebrities and influencers that will spotlight the people and organizations working in communities across America to inspire students to complete their education and stay on the path to success.

Soledad O'Brien hosts American Graduate Day

Soledad O’Brien will host American Graduate Day on Saturday, September 17, 2016, 2-6pm, from Tisch WNET Studio at Lincoln Center.

Soledad O’Brien, accomplished journalist, hosts the program, which will be broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

The broadcast will include segments from organizations such as America’s Promise Alliance (; 4-H (; Boys & Girls Clubs of America (; Big Brothers Big Sisters (; The Y (YMCA of the USA) (; Junior Achievement (; and more. It will also feature Stories of Champions, segments profiling people across America who are working to help students graduate.

This year’s broadcast will ask viewers to “Be a Mentor” and impact real change on a young person’s life. We’re pleased to team up with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership ( to connect viewers with mentoring opportunities in their local communities.

Visit American Graduate on Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #AmGrad), or to learn more and find out how you can become an American Graduate Champion. The American Graduate Facebook page will include Facebook Live streaming on September 17.

Schedule for the Education Revolution

POV's All the Difference

POV’s All the Difference, airs Monday, September 12 at 10:30pm on THIRTEEN.

Our Education Week line-up also features special reports from such signature series as POV, Frontline, and NOVA.

POV: All the Difference (Monday, September 12, 10:30 pm) follows two African-American teens from the South Side of Chicago on their journey to achieve their dream of graduating from college.

Frontline (Tuesday, September 13, 9 pm) presents Education, a look at the troubled for-profit college industry, and Omarina’s Story, which shows how an innovative program to stem the high school dropout crisis has affected one girl’s journey, from a public middle school in the Bronx to an elite New England private school, and now on to college.

Anna Deavere Smith, Sal Khan, and other speakers discuss the school-to-prison pipeline, the impact of micromanaging kids, and transforming struggling students into scholars in TED TALKS: Education Revolution (Tuesday, September 13, 10 pm).

School of the Future (Wednesday, September 14, 9 pm), a NOVA special, explores how the new science of learning can help us reimagine the future of education and help children compete in new age of information, rapid innovation and globalization.

Craft in America: Teachers (Saturday, September 17, 1 pm) spotlights craft artists committed to passing on their skills and passion to new generations of students and artists.