Filmed and edited by Marina Qutab, Sarah Robertson and Frank Dutan
Commerce High School in Springfield has a graduation rate of 47%. The high school is about 20 miles away from Amherst, a town with two prestigious colleges, Amherst and Hampshire, and the state’s flagship university, UMass Amherst. These academic institutions bring resources that have allowed the town of Amherst to flourish. Amherst Regional High has an impressive graduation rate of 88.5% The benefits do not trickle past Amherst. Springfield is a town that has never fully recovered since factory jobs have moved overseas. Wealth has moved out of the city and property values have dropped. The city of Springfield is unable to generate sufficient revenue and it does not have the academic resources to invest in public education like the town of Amherst. Commerce High School teacher Carlos McBride discusses how he educates in public school environment like Commerce. He utilizes his classroom as a space to combat social inequalities and give his students a comprehensive understanding about the city around them.