Many of the educators that I follow have been talking about the movie, Waiting For Superman, and Oprah’s recent shows on the topic and Education Nation. I have sensed a lot of frustration in the messages in my Twitter feed and wanted to see the movie myself before I made any judgment on it and how it portrayed the problems and the solutions. This afternoon, I headed down to Hollywood and saw the 3pm showing of it.
There have been a lot of reviews already written about the movie and Larry Ferlazzo has a good list available on his blog so I am not going to try to review the movie in the traditional sense. I am just going to share some of the thoughts that went through my head as I watched it:
- I wonder where the statistics in the movie came from? What is the spin on them? Have I mentioned that I tend to be cynical about things at times?
- Charter schools are not the be all & end all in the solution to the education problem. There are great charter schools and lousy charter schools. There are great neighborhood public schools and lousy neighborhood public schools.
- The pouring information into kids’ heads cartoon was somewhat creepy and so not 21st century learning.
- I agree we need good teachers but how do we judge what makes a good teacher? Typically, the film seems to indicate it’s all about the test scores.
- How sad it was that the one private school in the film was so heartless. I am glad that the private school where I work does not do this.
- Why must someone or something be vilified in order for something or someone else to be good? Is there really a black & white here?
- On a positive note, it’s nice to have most of my ticket price refunded in the form of a DonorsChoose Gift Card. Cynically, I wonder who’s funding these?
In the end, I mostly felt rather sad …
I’m not sad for the students highlighted in the movie. I believe that they will be fine. They have parents or guardians who care and who will fight for them. They have goals and want to succeed.
I’m not sad for my students. I work in a small private school. The parents are involved and care very much about their child’s education. The students want to learn. Our teachers care about the students and work in partnership with the students and their parents to help each child succeed. The opportunity is there.
I am sad for those students who do not have the support at home. So often, they’re lost before they even start. They can’t apply to the charter schools. They don’t know how to work with (or against) the system to get what they might need.
I am sad for our nation. We have the resources to provide the best education to all of our children. They deserve it and as a nation we need to do it. I am afraid that the discussions around the film could end up pitting teachers against teachers, parents against teachers and schools, our government against schools and teachers. Who would that help? Don’t we all just want what is best for our children?
Have you see Waiting For Superman? What are your thoughts?