Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Waiting for Superman

Saturday I saw the documentary Waiting for Superman.  I watch documentaries with skeptical eyes, because logic leads me to conclude that if the director is willing to devote both time and money to a project that 'informs' the general public about an issue then they most likely have formed an opinion on that issue.  In addition to my usual skepticism I came with concerns that the documentary might place an unfair amount of blame on teachers.  Several articles I read claimed the film was receiving flack for being anti-teacher.  

Good news for good teachers: the film applauds you and your efforts.  Bad news for bad teachers: if real education reform ever begins to take place- hopefully, your days are numbered.  

I noticed that one of the comments on YouTube read, "communist propaganda at it's worst." Either this person has yet to see the film or does not understand the fundamentals of communism, because this documentary promotes the idea of merit based pay for teachers which seems pretty capitalist to me. I guess if you really want to get technical all public schools are communist in nature (since most everyone supports them via property taxes regardless of whether their child attends their local public school or not).  I'm splitting hairs though- I think we can all agree that public education is necessary.  Thomas Jefferson thought so:

"Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation." 
-Thomas Jefferson:

Last but not least, I was appalled by New York City's "rubber room."  This is a place where NYC teachers who are awaiting disciplinary hearings go everyday, receive full salaries, and play Scrabble (amongst other things.)  The cost to NYC tax payers:  $30 million in salaries alone.  

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