The Ruling Classroom (1980)

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In a seventh grade class in Mill Valley, California, teacher George Muldoon decided to undertake an innovative, especially for 1979, approach to teaching social studies. Instead of reading about government, the students will turn their class into a mini-country, complete with an economy, system of laws, and a government. The Ruling Classroom documents the trials of this experiment and its very unexpected outcome. Having established their laws and auctioning off business, it's not long before white collar crime emerges and a group of students tries to monopolize the country's economic resources. The gap between rich and poor grows and the students attempt to write new laws to deal with their changing environment. Which they do fairly well, until the student's newspaper publishes an article about a teacher slapping a student and the principal brings the experiment to a halt. At the moment reality impinges upon the student's make believe world, what was intended as a lesson for the student becomes a lesson for us all.