waiting for superman
“Even if you don’t have kids, you should care about public education,” says Lesley Chilcott, producer of Waiting for “Superman.” “If we want to solve global warming, poverty, health care and the economy, we need to have an educated society. Education is ground zero for tackling all these issues.”
Without getting into a political debate, which is not the point I’m trying to make here, I’d like to share five points that shocked me while watching this movie. You may already be aware of all of this, but I wasn’t.
- U.S. students ranked approximately 24th out of 29th in math and science in the developed world.
- There have been no improvements in raising overall standards in reading and math over the last ten years. Almost every state is failing to reach minimum standards.
- Children are placed on a “track system,” the lower track or the upper track, and generally this will follow the student throughout their schooling, from Kindergarten until 12th grade. Lower track kids don’t get the best teachers. Who decides on the track? Well that is left up to the viewer to determine.
- Apparently teachers were offered an alternative: get paid up to $122,000/year and give up the “tenure” system, whereby teachers who are lazy, not teaching properly, or are simply not getting the job done, can be laid off. They refused to vote. (This is in the movie, not something I read or heard.)
- A student had a hidden camera in his back-pack to film a “lazy” teacher on the tenure system, who read the newspaper and didn’t teach, and the high school kids were playing games and doing whatever they wanted. (I remember one of my sons telling me that his 10th grade teacher was showing videos and making them color in maps, almost every day, instead of teaching. She was getting ready to retire and was so fed up with her job, she didn’t care.)
There are so many points covered other than what I brought up, as we follow the lives of inner city kids around the U.S. and how many can only attend their “failing” inner city schools.
Those who struggle to get into the “better” schools try the lottery system. One little Hispanic girl, Daisy, wanted to become a vet. She worked so hard every day and unfortunately, her name was not called out during the lottery, so she had to stay in her “failing” school.
I’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all the GREAT teachers.
Message from Davis Guggenheim, Director of Waiting for Superman: “We are never going to have great schools without great teachers.