The purpose of this blog is to know and understand the teacher's perspective concerning current issues on education reform and the teaching profession. Inputs from the ones who probably knows what is best for students academically -- the teachers -- are rarely considered in decision making of policies. Yet, these so-called education experts and lawmakers dictate how we do our jobs and what we should teach. That's not right!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Finally Saw It...

The over-hyped, educational documentary, Waiting for Superman, came out nationally in selected theaters on September 24. It made to metro Atlanta at only one theater on October 8. Now, on today - October 15, it is now showing in three theaters in Atlanta...and I FINALLY went to go see the movie that everybody is talking about.

Now, normally I would research and cite various sources for information and insights on a particular topic. Well, this time, I won't. As a former teacher who is very passionate about the subject of education reform, I will give you MY personal critique of the movie. So, here goes...

  • What I liked about the movie?
    • It profiled students from diverse backgrounds in various parts of the country
    • It showed good teaching
    • It noted that 1 in 5 (approximately 17%) charter schools are high-achieving
    • It address the problems with bureaucratic strongholds in public schools and how district/central offices are too top-heavy and clueless on the REAL needs of their schools, as well as the lack of transparency.
    • Since I am one to give credit when it is due, Michelle Rhee was trying to clean up house from the top down.
    • It addressed the influence of poverty and long-term public apathy on failing schools
  • What I didn't like about the movie?
    • Failure to note that union power varies from state to state; some of the criticisms opponents stated don't happen here in the South
    • Delineate unions as just being a dissent force to reform when they are not.
    • Perpetuate the misconception of teacher tenure and the due process protocols as being tedious and time-consuming.
    • Failure to acknowledge administrative apathy as the main obstacle in removing ineffective teachers, especially with the "dancing of the lemon heads" crap
    • Perpetuate the notion that schools are the ONLY public institutions that can save a community/neighborhood
    • Some of the parents of the kids profiled in the movie were part of the problem
    • The whole lottery scenes irk me, making families looks like charity cases.
    • Failure to emphasize the significant of the village working together and personal accountability from every part of the village
If the purpose of this movie was to spark a serious conversation about education reform, I believe it have done its job well. However, the movie is one-sided and biased toward the so-called experts; in addition, it is a means of pushing propaganda of charter schools being the ONLY solutions and teacher unions are worthy to be demonized.

Like I said on my Facebook page a few weeks ago, I will say it again: All educators should go see this movie for themselves. Perhaps it will motivate them to speak up and give some MEANINGFUL expertise on how to fix our schools. This is more than about our livelihood; this is about the children we serve and the future of our nation they will soon run. Any good and dedicated educator will say this is a village problem; schools alone cannot fix the problems!

UPDATE: Check out these photos of Pres. Obama greeting the children profiled in the movie at the White House...NICE! While I love and support Obama, yet hate his education policies, this was really nice of him to make time out of his busy schedule to give these an opportunity they will never forget.

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