Waiting For Superman: Good Luck, Going to Public School, Kids Today! (Parents Take Notice.)

SupermanAs a product of the public school system in the Great State of New York, this film is well overdue. Everyone, please watch this.

If you attended public school in any state in the U.S. I think you know what I mean.

And if you have kids, please, at least watch at least a minute into this trailer. You will realize the filmmaker’s intent.

The public school education system is BROKEN  …. if you’re working within it, please speak out and join the effort to reform it. I knew something wasn’t right as a child in the system, but what the hell do kids really know? Time to make a change,

, , , ,

  • Haystack

    I have to strongly disagree with you on this one. The film highlights successful charter schools in order to make the argument that we should hand our school system over to the private sector, but overlooks the obvious. The charter schools shown in this film had much, much more funding than their public counterparts. Many are also allowed to throw out not only problem kids, but special needs students that public schools are obliged to educate.

    Rather, the charter school movement ascribes the failure of public schools to teachers and the teachers’ union, claiming that they are opposed to dismissing their under-performing colleagues when, in fact, the opposite is true. In schools where a peer-review system is in place, teachers are dismissed more often, not less.

    What teachers don’t like is having to waste disproportionate amounts of class time training kids to pass a battery of standardized tests which are designed to measure their job performance. Students learn only to memorize and regurgitate answers, not to think and understand. As a measure of performance for teachers, it is notoriously unfair and unreliable. For example, 9th grade teachers may put a lot of work into their students only to have it reflect on 10th grade test scores.

    If we want schools to get better, we need to stop vilifying teachers and actually *fund* educational system. Also, we need to let teachers teach and stop holding that their funding hostage to the outcome of ill-conceived, thought-crushing standardized tests.

    • ralph

      Haystack, I completely agree with you:

      1. Properly fund the public education system

      2. Make education about “learning” and not tests

      I’m speaking from the perspective of an individual who in a series of attending public schools had to worry about getting mugged INSIDE the school. I’m sure others around the country had far worse fates.

      • Haystack

        I definitely agree that what we have now is unacceptable.

    • Ironaddic06

      I agree. I’ll add that not all kids need to get a 4 year college degree. Quit using how many students graduate college as a measuing stick. There has to be a push to get kids to have real skills.

  • Haystack

    I have to strongly disagree with you on this one. The film highlights successful charter schools in order to make the argument that we should hand our school system over to the private sector, but overlooks the obvious. The charter schools shown in this film had much, much more funding than their public counterparts. Many are also allowed to throw out not only problem kids, but special needs students that public schools are obliged to educate.

    Rather, the charter school movement ascribes the failure of public schools to teachers and the teachers’ union, claiming that they are opposed to dismissing their under-performing colleagues when, in fact, the opposite is true. In schools where a peer-review system is in place, teachers are dismissed more often, not less.

    What teachers don’t like is having to waste disproportionate amounts of class time training kids to pass a battery of standardized tests which are designed to measure their job performance. Students learn only to memorize and regurgitate answers, not to think and understand. As a measure of performance for teachers, it is notoriously unfair and unreliable. For example, 9th grade teachers may put a lot of work into their students only to have it reflect on 10th grade test scores.

    If we want schools to get better, we need to stop vilifying teachers and actually *fund* educational system. Also, we need to let teachers teach and stop holding that their funding hostage to the outcome of ill-conceived, thought-crushing standardized tests.

  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    Haystack, I completely agree with you:

    1. Properly fund the public education system

    2. Make education about “learning” and not tests

    I’m speaking from the perspective of an individual who in a series of attending public schools had to worry about getting mugged INSIDE the school. I’m sure others around the country had far worse fates.

  • Haystack

    I definitely agree that what we have now is unacceptable.

  • Simiantongue

    I have to say this film is a wonder of propaganda. It is fascinating too see it so eloquently done too. The film has that “independent documentary” feel to it. It rouses one from a supposed apathetic slumber, that perhaps someone “out there” is failing your child, failing our society, failing America! and something must be done! Painting the public school system as deeply flawed, perhaps unworkable. Then providing a practical solution which is private charter schools. But I’m wondering is it at all possible that at least some problems we have in public education are strictly due to inherent flaws in that system. I’ll be the first to agree that there are serious problem with public education in the US that need to be addressed. But I might also point out that although the US is #25 in this subject and #27 in that. That those countries that rate above the US, or at the top, have public school systems that are not predominately privately run either. So the non sequitur’s that the US has a public education system + that system has problems = private charter systems are the solution. That really makes no rational sense without any sort of empirical data that shows it. As far as I have read, which is somewhat considerable over the years, that simply doesn’t pan out.

    This is a repeat of the same sort of scenarios from across many services that people have been able to provide for themselves with government at much better rates of cost and efficiency in many places in the world, electricity, roads, national parks, health care, water etc. Then at times and in places the methodology of privatization moves in like a parasite, weakening the host enough so that they can sell their all healing snake oil solutions. This methodology used by those pushing the privatization agenda is uniform across the board. Under fund public services, political destabilization, create an uproar and declare a crisis, thereafter revealing a plausible solution. In this case just in the nick of time there is a solution, private charter schools to the rescue! Yaay capitalism!! Then all they have to do is circumvent all those pesky regulations, break public control, divert the public money to corporations and lastly claim that the problem all along was funding and they solve that problem by continually raising the price of the goods or service.

    Never mind the fact that this basically puts and end to the right of public education no matter a person’s income. That doesn’t mean a thing when there could possibly be a bottom line in this for some monied interests. This has really been a goal for many who look at the money we spend educating children with glinting eyes filled with avarice. All that perfectly good revenue going down the drain when they could simply be cutting it up amongst an interested constituency who will see to it that the “edumacating” get done for less so they can keep the difference. Public education in the US especially has long been challenged by a dearth in public funding and also a pattern of creating institutional pandemonium, both of which are intended to deconstruct public control of public education.

    I honestly believe these people think it is best for all when they do this and that they think they could do it better, and most importantly that they believe they can make a buck by doing it their way too, which in the end is the most important thing to them. But essentially they are sobotaging the educational system one person and one deed at a time. Each doing their small part to make such things come about. Then who would be wholly to blame really if the system fails? Nobody can point a finger in any particular direction and say “It was you”. Though there are always those in particular who are more egregious and zealous but where the label of culpability in the cause of a systemic failure is always too harsh so we give them a pass also. It’s not some evil cabal trying to break down public education but it is a large number of people who are of the same mind, that it is ok to screw kids out of an education just one small individual deed at a time so we can do things in a way that they can make profit while doing it. Death by a thousand cuts by a thousand perpetrators. Thereby making it easier for outside interests, who are in everyone’s interest it is claimed(most especially their own), to increasingly control the public education sector. It’s done in small steps to be sure, a turn of the screw here and a twist of the wrench there and that takes time, decades. But as there is on a scale or a camels back, there is a tipping point or a last straw. A long history of selling out children’s public education with no one individual or single group with exclusive claims on the machinations of it. It always ends with legions of corporate entrepreneurs and lobbyists to take the reigns, whose only priorities, mandated by law no less, is to seek to increase their investors share of markets. As in health care insurance in the US where any money needed for patient care is considered a “medical loss ratio”, even as premiums rise. So too will student education costs be considered a “education loss ratio”. If it comes to that it’s all legally mandated and is the American way after all, and who would be to blame really?

    • myth_slayer

      Thanks a bundle, Simiantongue, for some very thoughtful comments.

      In America, we have never truly had “public education” but a capitalist education system not based on meritocracy, but on a true anti-meritocratic concept.

      A truly concerned public would yearn for a true public education, where everyone had the same access to the same outstanding educational materials and structure, not one which was solely based on local property values.

      Alas, the fellow involved with this film, Guggenheim, was not coincidentally involved with Al Gore’s film, which I admit to never having seen as I long ago realized Gore (as in Al “I-love-NAFTA-I-have-my-very-own-carbon-trading-hedge-fund-and-I-love-carbon-offsets-which-originated-in-the-Reagan-administration” Gore) was a colossal phony. (I do believe in global climate change, just not Wall Street’s latest shadow banking scam known as “cap & trade”.)

      This propaganda film is all about the privatization of what remains of public education, as their overall agenda is the “privatization of everything.”

      And Bill Gates’ foundation has been all about the privatization of education, just as it has pushed Monsanto’s GMOs and further spread of securitized debt to benefit the multinationals, while screwing the rest of us.

  • Simiantongue

    I have to say this film is a wonder of propaganda. It is fascinating too see it so eloquently done too. The film has that “independent documentary” feel to it. It rouses one from a supposed apathetic slumber, that perhaps someone “out there” is failing your child, failing our society, failing America! and something must be done! Painting the public school system as deeply flawed, perhaps unworkable. Then providing a practical solution which is private charter schools. But I’m wondering is it at all possible that at least some problems we have in public education are strictly due to inherent flaws in that system. I’ll be the first to agree that there are serious problem with public education in the US that need to be addressed. But I might also point out that although the US is #25 in this subject and #27 in that. That those countries that rate above the US, or at the top, have public school systems that are not predominately privately run either. So the non sequitur’s that the US has a public education system + that system has problems = private charter systems are the solution. That really makes no rational sense without any sort of empirical data that shows it. As far as I have read, which is somewhat considerable over the years, that simply doesn’t pan out.

    This is a repeat of the same sort of scenarios from across many services that people have been able to provide for themselves with government at much better rates of cost and efficiency in many places in the world, electricity, roads, national parks, health care, water etc. Then at times and in places the methodology of privatization moves in like a parasite, weakening the host enough so that they can sell their all healing snake oil solutions. This methodology used by those pushing the privatization agenda is uniform across the board. Under fund public services, political destabilization, create an uproar and declare a crisis, thereafter revealing a plausible solution. In this case just in the nick of time there is a solution, private charter schools to the rescue! Yaay capitalism!! Then all they have to do is circumvent all those pesky regulations, break public control, divert the public money to corporations and lastly claim that the problem all along was funding and they solve that problem by continually raising the price of the goods or service.

    Never mind the fact that this basically puts and end to the right of public education no matter a person’s income. That doesn’t mean a thing when there could possibly be a bottom line in this for some monied interests. This has really been a goal for many who look at the money we spend educating children with glinting eyes filled with avarice. All that perfectly good revenue going down the drain when they could simply be cutting it up amongst an interested constituency who will see to it that the “edumacating” get done for less so they can keep the difference. Public education in the US especially has long been challenged by a dearth in public funding and also a pattern of creating institutional pandemonium, both of which are intended to deconstruct public control of public education.

    I honestly believe these people think it is best for all when they do this and that they think they could do it better, and most importantly that they believe they can make a buck by doing it their way too, which in the end is the most important thing to them. But essentially they are sobotaging the educational system one person and one deed at a time. Each doing their small part to make such things come about. Then who would be wholly to blame really if the system fails? Nobody can point a finger in any particular direction and say “It was you”. Though there are always those in particular who are more egregious and zealous but where the label of culpability in the cause of a systemic failure is always too harsh so we give them a pass also. It’s not some evil cabal trying to break down public education but it is a large number of people who are of the same mind, that it is ok to screw kids out of an education just one small individual deed at a time so we can do things in a way that they can make profit while doing it. Death by a thousand cuts by a thousand perpetrators. Thereby making it easier for outside interests, who are in everyone’s interest it is claimed(most especially their own), to increasingly control the public education sector. It’s done in small steps to be sure, a turn of the screw here and a twist of the wrench there and that takes time, decades. But as there is on a scale or a camels back, there is a tipping point or a last straw. A long history of selling out children’s public education with no one individual or single group with exclusive claims on the machinations of it. It always ends with legions of corporate entrepreneurs and lobbyists to take the reigns, whose only priorities, mandated by law no less, is to seek to increase their investors share of markets. As in health care insurance in the US where any money needed for patient care is considered a “medical loss ratio”, even as premiums rise. So too will student education costs be considered a “education loss ratio”. If it comes to that it’s all legally mandated and is the American way after all, and who would be to blame really?

  • Ironaddic06

    I agree. I’ll add that not all kids need to get a 4 year college degree. Quit using how many students graduate college as a measuing stick. There has to be a push to get kids to have real skills.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks a bundle, Simiantongue, for some very thoughtful comments.

    In America, we have never truly had “public education” but a capitalist education system not based on meritocracy, but on a true anti-meritocratic concept.

    A truly concerned public would yearn for a true public education, where everyone had the same access to the same outstanding educational materials and structure, not one which was solely based on local property values.

    Alas, the fellow involved with this film, Guggenheim, was not coincidentally involved with Al Gore’s film, which I admit to never having seen as I long ago realized Gore (as in Al “I-love-NAFTA-I-have-my-very-own-carbon-trading-hedge-fund-and-I-love-carbon-offsets-which-originated-in-the-Reagan-administration” Gore) was a colossal phony. (I do believe in global climate change, just not Wall Street’s latest shadow banking scam known as “cap & trade”.)

    This propaganda film is all about the privatization of what remains of public education, as their overall agenda is the “privatization of everything.”

    And Bill Gates’ foundation has been all about the privatization of education, just as it has pushed Monsanto’s GMOs and further spread of securitized debt to benefit the multinationals, while screwing the rest of us.