The inspiring new documentary, “180 Days: Hartsville,” takes a fresh look at the nation’s poverty and education challenges in a rural South Carolina town. The two-hour special, co-produced by South Carolina ETV (SCETV) and National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), airs tonight, on PBS, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET (check local listings). The film was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen,” a public media initiative to stem the dropout crisis by supporting community-based solutions.
Co-directors Jacquie Jones and Garland McLaurin, the team behind the Peabody Award-winning documentary “180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School,” which premiered in 2013, joined SCETV in Hartsville, South Carolina for more than a year. They filmed in 2 elementary schools struggling with new curriculum standards and maintaining funding, while meeting the needs of individual students. South Carolina ranks 45th in the country in education. The majority of Hartsville residents hover on the poverty line with a median income of less than $30,000 and more than half of the city’s students qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches.