Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Waiting for Superman' Prompting Real Discussions About Education. Finally.

Sure, the new absolutely heart-wrenching documentary, Waiting for Superman, is controversial. Teachers and their unions say it demonizes them and heaps upon them the blame for the failures of the U.S. public educational system in many parts of this country, even though there are plenty of kudos in the film given to talented teachers. They're described as vital to a student's success, even called works of "art" in the movie.

The filmmakers have also been taken to task for promoting charter schools as the big answer. They didn't spotlight any public schools which might be doing well and which could be used as a role model for success in the public sector.

I'm fine with all that criticism. I welcome it. I want people to talk energetically about this documentary and to vigorously debate it. I also want them to see it. Only by getting intellectually engaged by the subject and emotionally involved in it will people actually start to give a hard look to the schools to see where we can improve and where we should stand up loudly say, "Awesome job!" to those who are making a positive difference in children's lives.

After having written a column about the film for Mommy Tracked, I wrote a note to one of my kids' teachers thanking him for inspiring my children to become interested in current events and make them feel like they have a stake in what's going on in the world. If you've got a kid and that kid goes to school, you've got a stake in this subject too.

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