The story of the Third Wave experiment as told by the students and their teacher, Ron Jones

Lesson Plan is the documentary about the 1967 Third Wave experiment in fascism that took place at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California. The charismatic teacher, Ron Jones, created a classroom setting wherein students subjugated personal freedom for the good of the community. Within one week, 30 students grew to 200. Taking on a life of its own, the Third Wave students unwittingly re-enacted the roots of the Third Reich. Replete with salutes and Gestapo-like informants, the experiment soon attracted scores of students throughout Cubberley as well as from neighboring schools, spiraling the exercise not only out of Jones’ control but the students’ as well. Original students, Ron Jones, school administrators and Dr. Philip Zimbardo (creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment) have been interviewed for this film. What makes the film so unique is that the Executive Producer/Director and Associate Producer were members of the original Third Wave class.

Spring, 1967: Disillusionment, anger and confusion bubble to the surface of the nation’s psyche. American youth are on the precipice of a social revolution and, for a few tumultuous days Ron Jones, a young, gifted, high school history teacher attempts a startling social experiment that will inspire comment and analysis to this day. In 1967, Ron Jones was in his first year teaching at progressive, upper-middle class Cubberley High School, responsible for instructing World History to 10th grade students. He had a dynamic connection with his students who recall him being “one of us”. Eager to shake up the political consciousness of his pupils, Jones launched an experiment over the course of several days, igniting a firestorm.

To explain the appeal of fascism in Nazi Germany, he created a classroom setting wherein students subjugated personal freedom to the good of the community, following almost without question. Replete with salutes and Gestapo-like informants, the so-called Third Wave soon attracted scores of students throughout Cubberley and neighboring schools, spiraling out of Jones’ control. This moving recounting by Jones, former students, school administrators, and many others enthralls with the force of inescapable conclusions, and demonstrates how its theme has only grown in relevance.

 

THE FILMMAKERS

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER and DIRECTOR PHILIP NEEL

Philip Neel graduated from UCLA in 1973 with a B.A. in Motion Picture/Television production. He started working at the CBS Television Network in various capacities. He eventually landed a position as an editor on the detective series “Remington Steele”. During this time, Neel met Glenn Gordon Caron, who hired him as the Associate Producer on the television series “Moonlighting”, an experience that honed Neel’s producing abilities. Neel has taught advanced editing for the Cinematic Arts Department at USC. He has three Emmy nominations for editing, five A.C.E. nominations, two A.C.E. Eddy awards, one CINE Golden Eagle Award, a Telly Award, as well as one Peabody Award. Neel is a member of American Cinema Editors, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America and the International Documentary Association. Philip was a student in the original Third Wave class.  IMDB page

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER and DIRECTOR DAVID H. JEFFERY

An honor scholar graduate of NYU’s famed film school, Mr. Jeffery is currently the Producer of the hit series “BONES” for Fox Broadcasting Company. A veteran post producer and post supervisor, some of his other credits include “AMERICAN FAMILY: JOURNEY OF DREAMS”, “WALKER, TEXAS RANGER”, “MILLENNIUM”, “VIP” as well as countless television movies and miniseries. In addition, Mr. Jeffery is an award winning Writer/Producer/Director, most recently having made “THE LAST STOP CAFE”, a short that garnered several prestigious awards on the festival circuit, including four Tellys, three Aurora Awards, and a CINE Golden Eagle. In 2003, he post produced “Tap Heat” for famed Producer/Director Dean Hargrove. Mr. Jeffery is a proud member of the Producers Guild of America, having served as a member of the qualifications committee.  IMDB page

 

PRODUCER ROBERT DEL VALLE

Robert Del Valle has worked in television as a producer, production manager, and assistant director for many years. Winner of a Directors Guild Award, for which he has been nominated seven-times, Del Valle has also been nominated for two Emmys and two Producers Guild Awards. In addition he also has a CINE Golden Eagle award. Among his many credits are Glee, True Blood, Six Feet Under, Shark, The Sopranos, Ally McBeal, Melrose Place, Hunter, The Wonder Years, Northern Exposure, and Tales of the City.
Robert is the author of the acclaimed book “The One-Hour Drama Series: Producing Episodic Television” – the ultimate guide to current television drama production methods and skills.  IMDB page

 

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER MARK HANCOCK

A student in the original Third Wave class, Mark Hancock is now the Wave class historian and webmaster. Mark visits and speaks around the world in support of those using the Wave story. He has presented the film Lesson Plan at the United Nations, as well as at various middle schools, high schools and universities in the US and overseas (and is available to visit yours). Mark speaks at film festivals, and has attended Wave theater productions in the US, Spain, Israel, Germany and Belgium; and supported a theater production in Hong Kong. Mark holds a BA degree in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Executive Nonprofit [NGO] Leadership from Seattle University. He spent the month of July, 2015 studying the Holocaust in an international teachers training program at the Yad Vashem Center in Jerusalem.  Website & Video

 

THE TEACHER

THIRD WAVE TEACHER RON JONES

Ron Jones is an American writer, teacher and spoken word artist. He received his Master’s in Education from Stanford University, and after his time at Cubberley High School (where he conducted The Third Wave experiment), he taught theater and sports to the physically and mentally disabled for 30 years at the Janet Pomeroy Center in San Francisco. Three of his stories, The Acorn People, The Wave, and B-Ball have been made into television specials garnering an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody for their producers. His book entitled Kids Called Crazy was nominated for a Pulitzer. Say Ray, the story of a disabled man abducted to Mexico, was honored as the 1985 American Book of the Year. Ron has recently written both a Third Wave play, and a Third Wave musical.  His website is www.ronjoneswriter.com

 


The Producers wish to thank the Righteous Persons Foundation for their generous support