TV Smarts

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are weekend home-viewing tips:

* Today. “Class of 2000: Dare to Dream” (KCBS, 10-11 p.m.) This documentary, a special edition of the regular series “48 Hours,” describes five teenagers’ struggles with personal goals for the next century. Each faces a different challenge: a dropout, a sexual-harassment litigant, a talent-search winner, a leukemia patient and the prospective inheritor of a tobacco farm. Paula Zahn reports. Log on for this program’s Learning Guide.

* Friday. “Beijing” (History, 5-6 p.m.) This documentary in the “In Search of History” series describes the “Forbidden City” and Tiananmen Square--which President Clinton visits this weekend. (The Web site has a detailed section on the visit: Key on “State Visit to China.”)

* Saturday. “The Making of ‘Gone With the Wind’ ” (TCM, 2:30-5 p.m.) This documentary contains rare behind-the-scenes material about the production of the great Civil War movie epic of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, in theatrical re-release nationwide. Both the documentary, produced by Jeffrey and Daniel Selznick, and the movie, produced by their father David O. Selznick, provide historical insights about the 1930s and the 1860s. For details log on


* Sunday. “14 Up in America” (Showtime, 8-9:30 p.m.) This is an installment of the distinguished Peabody Award-winning documentary series, which follows the lives of a group of young Americans from age 7. Michael Apted produced and Phil Joanou directed this episode, in which the subjects are seen at age 14.

“Emergency? Ask a Kid! A Nick News Special” (Nickelodeon, 8:30-9 p.m.) This is a documentary about five teenagers who faced extraordinary emergencies and took charge of the situations. Also, American Red Cross spokesman Steve Vitrano and host Linda Ellerbee discuss with a group of youngsters the best responses to various emergencies.

--Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, associate dean, College of Education, Cal State Northridge. For references to books, videos and Web sites recommended in the past month’s TV Smarts, log on