School Colors

Season Premiere: PBS Frontline Series

SCHOOL COLORS gives a first-hand look at the events, relationships, and conflicts at Berkeley High in the 1990s, a large, multicultural, urban school. The documentary examines how sharply segregated along color lines America's public schools remained forty years after Brown v. Board of Education. School Colors explores segregation in the classroom, the social segregation of the student body, and finally, the school’s efforts to achieve greater racial equality and harmony.

Produced by: Scott Andews, Stephen Olsson, Inez Robinson-Odom
Series Producer & Writer: Stephen Olsson

Produced in association with the Center for Investigative Reporting


“School Colors” examines the seeds of America’s future, proposing no solutions, but asking important and extremely provocative questions.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

“School Colors is a reminder that there is no substitute for patient investigation and depth. You come away from it feeling steeped in the locker-lined, graffiti-splashed, hormonally charged world of high school - and bruised by the anger and agony that contemporary segregation inflicts on almost everyone. “School Colors” is daunting, and perhaps as clearly distilled an image of contemporary America as you could ask for.” (Cited by the Boston Globe as one of the ten best television programs of the year.) The Boston Globe

“Absorbing! Finds glimmers of light in the dark landscape of America’s racial attitudes. This Emmy-worthy documentary makes clear that good public education is critical to making our society succeed in the future.” The Chicago Tribune

“This is a rewarding special edition of “Frontline”, a fast-moving, exploratory and often troubling show which throws a light – sometimes a glaring one - on this bitterly contentious subject. That any light at all is shed by so massive and complex a production says something about its skill and vision. The filmmakers edited miles of footage into a cohesive and dramatic whole. The result is neither judgmental nor merely impressionistic. The larger canvas these impressive people paint for viewers is a school convulsed with problems, but also grappling with them.” The Christian Science Monitor

“A 'frontline’ report in the truest sense - a provocative, occasionally exasperating, enlightening and important program. “School Colors” gets high marks for going beyond the rhetoric to look at the reality that animates the questions. Watch it!” The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Superb! Edgy and uncompromising! “School Colors” is a spellbinding, non-judgmental documentary about coping in a multicultural society. It will keep you up at night thinking: How can we both honor our differences and celebrate our common humanity?” The Orange County Register

“ Insightful! Captures the anger and idealism of students and faculty. […] “School Colors” will ring bells - lots of bells.” The Baltimore Sun

New York Times. Read full review.


Winner of the du-Pont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.


Also broadcast on Arte,(France & Germany), NHK (Japan) TV Globo (Brazil) and other networks.

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