Finding Solutions: Mentoring
Alexa Erb
ne of the aspects that makes HBO’s The Wire
such a revolutionary television show is its
candid and truthful social commentary on the
systems that make up the city of Baltimore. In its
realistic portrayal of the devastation, the corruption,
and the heartbreak of these institutions, The Wire has
faced some criticism. Critics believe that while The
Wire does a fine job of pointing out societal flaws, it
does little to offer solutions or even hope. John Atlas
and Peter Dreier write in Dissent Magazine that
“Watching The Wire we are encouraged to feel
sympathy, guilt, or outrage but no hope” (Atlas and
Dreier). The style and mission of the series does not
lend itself to neat, happy endings. It isn’t fair, however,
to say that the show leaves us with no solutions.
Season Four of The Wire, which focuses on education,
presents the viewers with an effective strategy for
change: mentoring, a tool that not only provides hope
for the characters on screen but gives viewers a hint to
how they, too, can become instigators of societal
Mentoring As a Transformative Power
Many low-income schools, like Tilghman Middle
School featured in The Wire, take a “banking”
approach to learning. In his work Pedagogy of the
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