Would a school district really defund the chess program that's produced more champions than any other school in the nation? That's part of the story of Brooklyn Castle, the heartwarming documentary which details the highly successful chess program at Brooklyn's Intermediate School 318. On Thursday night, director Katie Dellamaggiore and student chess champion Pobo Efekoro visited the Daily Show to talk about the documentary. Sure, they talked chess, but they also engaged in some real talk about education budget cuts, how standardized testing has taken over schooling, and the incessant demonization of teachers by education reformers.
Of course, in true Daily Show style, Stewart whips out a chess board and proceeds to get spanked by both Efekoro and Dellamaggiore as they discuss the issues and the film, which opens across the nation today. Perhaps the most poignant moment, however, comes towards the end of the segment (6:17) when Stewart asks Efekoro, who now attends Forest Hills High School in Queens, "How many kids go there?" "3,900," Efekoro replies. You can see the shock and outrage on Stewarts face as he asks, "How many should go there?" and Efekoro tells him, "2,300."
"And that's what's going on in the schools right now," says Stewart. Indeed.