9 Education Documentaries on Netflix to Stream in 2019

woman watching education documentaries

Everyone loves a good Netflix™ binge on the weekends. What better way to end the week than curled up with a good show? With so many options, the only thing you have to worry about is what to watch next!

The TV streaming service offers every genre you could imagine, including your favorite: documentaries. Diving deep into an interesting topic is right up your alley. Your latest fascination is all things related to education, teaching and learning.

Quality documentaries about a specific topic aren’t quite as easy to come by as TV’s most popular dramas and sitcoms. But when it comes to education documentaries, we’ve got you covered. Thanks to this list of nine education documentaries on Netflix, you won’t have to dig very far to find your next binge-watch.

9 Documentaries on Netflix that focus on education

Don’t just veg out with another mindless sitcom. With so many incredible education documentaries on Netflix, you can stay sharp while you relax. Get the popcorn ready and settle in for an evening with these informative education documentaries.

1. Teach Us All

Year: 2017

Length: 1hr 20m

Part documentary and part social-justice campaign, Teach Us All revisits the violent resistance to the desegregation of Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Sixty years after a group of African American students (known as the Little Rock Nine) defied racism and hatred to attend an all-white school, Teach Us All takes us back to the city where it all began.

The modern-day Little Rock school district once again faces upheaval as it navigates a recent state takeover and wrestles with civil rights issues facing schools across the nation. Educational inequality is at the forefront of this compelling documentary, leaving viewers with the lesson that some history is less settled than many would like to believe.

2. Night School

Year: 2016

Length: 1hr 21m

Three high-school dropouts return to school as adults to earn their degrees. Greg, Melissa and Shynika will have achieved an incredible goal if they’re able to accomplish this dream—but completing high school may be easier said than done in Indianapolis, a city with one of the lowest high-school graduation rates in the nation.

Viewers are taken into each student’s life, seeing behind the scenes as they struggle to balance family, work and their dreams of a better future. Night School reveals the incredible obstacles many low-income Americans face to obtain an education, and the surprising hope that carries them through on their journeys.

3. Last Chance U

Year: 2016–present

Length: 1 hr per episode

This docuseries originally focused on Scooba, Mississippi, where talented football players with difficult pasts seek to get on-track academically at the little-known East Mississippi Community College. Ultimately these student-athletes aim to move on to big-time college programs, but not all make it through. While the series has now shifted its focus to another junior college, the overarching stories remain. 

Fans of Friday Night Lights or college athletics won’t want to miss this look into the lives of student-athletes working hard to find academic achievement, reconcile their past mistakes and leave it all on the field in the hopes of catching the eye of an NCAA recruiter.

4. NOVA: School of the Future

Year: 2016

Length: 1hr 53m

American schools aren’t exactly performing well compared to global standard, a fact that concerns parents, researchers and educators alike. This episode of NOVA takes a hard look at the gaps between our educational system and those of other countries, as well as racial and class disparities that are causing challenges here at home.

This documentary isn’t just doom and gloom, however. You’ll learn about the science of learning, the role of technology in the classroom and what we can do to turn the American education system around. Researchers and educators team up to envision a future of innovation and equality that provides the education our young minds deserve.

5. The Bad Kids

Year: 2016

Length: 1hr 40m

This inspiring documentary follows high school teachers in an impoverished Mojave Desert community. These dedicated educators work at an alternative school, tirelessly serving kids who are so far behind that they have no chance of graduating through the traditional school system.

Viewers will see the power of hope and compassion in action as the principal and teachers use life skills, empathy and love to help students realize their potential and improve their academic standing. The Bad Kids showcases the difference a caring teacher can make, while also bringing to light the impact of poverty in underserved communities.

6. LEGO House: Home of the Brick

Year: 2018

Length: 47m

Not all education takes place in a classroom. Billund, Denmark is home to the 130,000-square-foot LEGO House, inspired by the classic children’s building bricks. LEGO House was designed to inspire creativity, wonder and awe in kids of all ages. This Netflix documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of its creation, a process that took four years.

You’ll see how the creative minds behind this unique destination divided LEGO House into four zones symbolizing four intersections of play and learning: creative, cognitive, social and emotional skills. Your inner-child might even be inspired to do some building of your own!

7. Waterschool

Year: 2018

Length: 1 hr 7m

Six girls from across the globe have one thing in common: They each live near one of the world’s major rivers. Waterschool takes viewers along as the girls receive an important education about water, sustainability and its impact on the health of our planet in ways both big and small.

The girls take what they’ve learned through the Waterschool environmental education and apply these important lessons to their home communities along the Amazon, Nile, Mississippi, Danube, Ganges and Yangtze rivers. You could even find yourself changing the way you think about water conservation in your life.

8. Brain Games

Year: 2015

Length: 30 minutes per episode

This National Geographic docuseries will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about your brain. Brain Games is an interactive show that challenges the audience with puzzling brain benders in each episode, showing you the truth about how you perceive the world.

Kids and adults will be amazed at their brain’s power of focus, the truth behind why we’re fooled by a magician’s sleight of hand and more. Brain Games fits into family game night just as well as family movie night—improving your focus and memory at the same time is just a bonus!

9. Brainchild

Year: 2018

Length: 30 minutes per episode

What are memories? How big is the universe? This educational documentary answers questions like these in a way that brings science to life for kids ages 8+. Quizzes and a gameshow that puts parents versus kids are just the start of the learning fun!

Kids and adults alike will be hooked as Brainchild dives deep into topics like emotions, motivation, creativity and even social media. This series proves that learning can be fun for the whole family!

Never stop learning

Thanks to these education documentaries on Netflix, you’ll be learning even as you enjoy your next weekend Netflix binge. These shows will give you a lot to think about when it comes to education.

If the credits are rolling and you’re still thirsty to learn more, keep up to date on the latest in education with these 3 Trends in Early Childhood Education that You Should Know About.

Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc.

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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