Thursday, January 13, 2011

Waiting for Superman

Waiting for "Superman"Yesterday, Jeff and I went to a free screening of the movie, "Waiting for Superman." It's about public education in the United States, and it was really interesting. It's clear that the movie couldn't capture the full complexity of the problem, but they provided a lot of facts about the situation, and the movie was really engaging. They also follow the lives of a handful of students and their parents navigating the system - these scenes are generally cute, sad, or both. It's incredible how aware the children are of how important education and a good school are for their future, and how devastating it is to realize it's literally a lottery that will determine whether they can go to a really successful charter school or if they'll have to attend the local public school, where 60% of the students drop out.

Some interesting statistics and data from the movie:
*In Illinois, where one in 57 doctors loses his medical license and one in 97 lawyers loses his law license, only one in 2,500 teachers loses his credentials, because of union rules.
*The film briefly visits a “rubber room” in New York City where idle teachers accused of misconduct wait months and sometimes years for hearings while drawing full salaries at an annual cost of $65 million.
*Eight years after Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act, with the goal of 100 percent proficiency in math and reading, most states hovered between 20 and 30 percent proficiency, and 70 percent of eighth graders could not read at grade level.

Overall, I really liked the movie, and I think the education system in the U.S. definitely needs more attention and more drastic action. Watch the trailer below, and then definitely check out this movie!

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