September 27, 2010

"That's not the whole story!"

There's lots of talk about the film Waiting for Superman these days, though it amounts to little more than a tear-jerking effort to undermine public education and bust teachers unions from sea to shining sea.
Juan Gonzalez interviews Rick Ayers on Democracy Now!

And just out in the Huffington Post:
"Saving Schools from the 'Supermen'"
It's a biased, intellectually shallow film, whose main premises — that tenure is bad and that charter schools will save public education — are both unfounded. There is no research to show charters do "better" than district schools (and what does "better" mean anyway?), and much evidence to the contrary, that in fact no school system has to go corporate and de-unionize itself to create good learning environments.

This film is a wake-up call, but not for us to go and rip out the underpinnings of the public system. Those schools served us well for many years and would continue to do so if the people running things at all levels of government would spend a lot more time listening to classroom educators and to parents.

There were Superman protests at Loew's Broadway and Rockefeller Center here in New York a few days ago, and educators belonging to San Francisco's EDU and UESF challenged filmmaker David Guggenheim at an advanced screening earlier this month. SF's United Public Workers for Action are calling for a boycott of the film on the grounds that it's part of a "consensus building" campaign against public education.

Ednotes reminds us not to miss an essay of Brian Jones at the International Socialist website, and NYC Educator lets us know what Chancellor Klein's been saying about the film. Both excellent reads.

Says the AFT in a new short video: Don't try to put anything over on a bunch of 5-year-olds, because they'll know the difference between a good story and hunk of Swiss cheese. Too bad the American public isn't that savvy. They're not offended by the smell, and can't even tell where all the holes are.

I didn't mind reading a sampling of the film's negative reviews again in a thoughtful piece by William Levay on the UFT website, but I'd much rather see the union spend its energy rejecting bad ideas like merit pay (because this doesn't get "results" and can't further our cause) and charter schools (too bad they have one or two of their own) and negotiating a contract that would bring the DoE to heel.

There's plenty of ways to make some noise about what's coming down. Just make it a point to put it on your agenda.

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