Focuses on the charter school experience for African American families. In a country where 58% of African American 4th graders are functionally illiterate, The Lottery uncovers the failures of the traditional public school system and reveals that hundreds of thousands of parents attempt to flee the system every year. Follows four of these families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery to attend the Harlem Success Academy, a public charter school founded by Eva Moskowitz, a former New York City councilwoman. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance of a better future. Uncovers a ferocious debate surrounding the education reform movement. Interviews with politicians and educators explain not only the crisis in public education, but also why it is fixable. A call to action to avert a catastrophe in the education of American children, The Lottery makes the case that any child can succeed.