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Marva Collins (Cicely Tyson) is a Chicago schoolteacher who strives to do her best to educate her students. However, she grows frustrated by the boundaries imposed on her methods by a failing public school system. Confronted by stubborn colleagues and a reproachful principal, Collins boldly decides to go it alone. Using her own funds, she creates the prep school for inner-city students that she feels they deserve. This moving biopic is based on a true story.