October 09, 2012

Waiting for Superman

Today I watched Waiting for Superman. It was a whole lot of propaganda. The gist is that American teacher unions are bad, which I've been preaching ever since I learned what the rubber room was. But then they go on to talk about how amazing charter schools are. The truth of the matter is that charter schools have roughly the same or worse outcomes for their students as public schools. The narrator admits at one point that he's only looking at the best charter schools and there are a lot of failing ones... but then distracts from that fact with the crossed fingers of people waiting breathlessly to get into a charter school. In the end, all schools are going to struggle a hell of a lot more than they're going to succeed, charter, public or private. There is no real solution to the education or inequality or life problems that the movie touches on.

My friend had a baby this week. The first of my really close friends to do so. I'm supposed to write a letter to him, but I can't get past "Welcome to the world." I'm not in a good place to spew drivel about the bountiful options of life or the wonderful lift of love. I'm a metaphoric failing charter school right now, and we should not be allowed to write letters to babies who have just poked their heads into the sunlight. I'd just ramble on and on about how nobody values education in the right way, and he'd be completely unedified by my words.

Just like you, poor audience. But you're not new to the world, per se, so it's your own damn fault for reading a single word I write. You should know better. But you don't because that's just the state of education these days. Nobody ever knows any better.


  1. I've learned a lot from reading your blog, so I think that still reading it is definitely the right decision.

    If the people who made that documentary were scientists and got caught telling half-truths like that, he would be totally shunned and punished by the scientific community. Or I would hope that the scientific community would shun those people like we're taught to in our ethics classes. And given that there's a public study that says that only about 20% of charter schools outperform schools that was out before the film was made (I think?), then his film would have failed the scientific review process unless it pointed out that the study was wrong. Shame on them!

    Much as the teacher's union causes a lot of problems in my old school district, I do hope that teachers like you who pride themselves on doing a good job get a good salary - because after all the atrocious and apathetic teachers that my brother and I have had, we should make sure that you stay a teacher instead of opting to be something else!

    1. Well, it's the same guy who directed "An Inconvenient Truth." And so he takes the research and turns it into an emotional whatever. He did quote that he was looking at the 1 in 5 as an example, but that statement was just squished into so much propaganda!

      The problem with the teacher's union according to the movie is that it protects the atrocious apathetic teachers and prevents competitive wages. And I agree with that premise. Just not that charter schools are the magical answer.