Sunday, November 7, 2010

waiting_for_superman

Last week I went to see the movie that I wanted to see since I heard that it’s coming – Waiting for Superman. To be honest… I was disappointed. I was expecting something more along Fahrenheit 911 – something that might make me to agree or disagree, but will make me think. This movie was talking a lot about what’s wrong with our schools, but I found its explanation of why or how they can be made better not very convincing. In some parts movie seemed to contradict itself. A private school that doesn’t let a child to come to a graduation ceremony, because her single mother is behind in payments? Goodness – that’s even more disgusting than failing public schools. A lot of blame was put on teachers’ unions that don’t allow firing bad teachers. I agree that this is something that is really appalling, but I still think that the answer is not only in having good teachers. I think that education starts at home – it starts with the attitude of parents. The movie showed 5 families that are all extremely concerned about their children education and have very limited choices. But children of the parents who don’t care have very few choices too. The movie was very passionate making a point that kids from poor families want to learn and can learn well, but the proof of this is magnet schools. How can these kids even get to lottery to get their chance at better education? Only if they have at least one caring adult in their lives. It would really require a Superman to change the fact that many parents think that it’s schools’ job to teach their children and that they don’t have to lift a finger to create a supportive environment at home.

9 comments:

Joyful Learner said...

I agree that parental involvement has a lot to do with the success of a child. And I don't mean spending all your time at PTA either. You get the best results when you care about what your child is learning. I always tell parents that schools can only do the bare minimum. The rest is up to you. Unfortunately, many people believe it's the schools' job to teach everything, even discipline. A teacher with 20+ kids can do just so much. I don't think there's an easy solution to the crisis in schools. I read Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman which is a teacher's account of the everyday struggles in the 60's(?) I believe, but things haven't changed much since then. Another good book to read is The Teacher which shows the contrast of how one teacher helped a group of underprivileged Maori children through unconventional means. It does make a difference if you get a good teacher but it's a hit or a miss.

Joyful Learner said...

I don't watch too many movies like that mainly because I believe they make them for sensationalism. But I am a sucker for inspirational teacher movies!

MaryAnne said...

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I intend to. Parents have such an impact on their children's education! Because of the way my family moved around, I alternated excellent schools with some truly ridiculous ones - but my parents did a good job of filling in the gaps most of the time, and after a couple years in a fantastic school it would take a while to actually get behind anyhow.

I have a masters degree in education and taught public high school for a couple years, in both privileged and underprivileged areas. One thing that really hit me was the impact parents have on their children - from the overstressed child whose parents demanded much too much to the 15yo girl who dropped out of school after having a baby whose own mother was only 30 years old with a grandmother in her mid-40s...

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I don't think you'll get any argument from the homeschool community, that parents are responsible for their children's education.

Debbie said...

I totally agree that a parents involvement is a huge key to a child's success in the schools. I also agree that too many parents drop the ball and believe the schools are there to do it all.

Amanda said...

This is a movie I want to see, but there are no movie theaters on the island so I will have to wait, and wait a while until it comes out on regular tv on one of the few channels we have. I agree that no change can happen in the schools without the parents, and far to many parents think its the school's job to teach there child everything. I know some parents like that, and even though they are upper middle class, they still don'y yake an interest, so it happens across all economic eanges :(

Ticia said...

I think the reason why magnet schools show a kid can do better if they want to is because those parents are actively involved in their child's education, which is the whole point.

It's not that kids in "higher income" schools have that much better a chance, it's that often their parents are that much more involved. I noticed the kids who were doing better at school always had parents who were more involved.

Our Homeschool Fun said...

I totally agree with every point and statement Ticia made. Hanna having gone to a magnet school most of her public school years, I saw this first hand vs. her year in traditional public school.

You know I feel and believe 100% that parental involvement is key not only in academics but in a child's overall development in every area.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I had to come back and comment again now, after having seen the movie on DVD.

I couldn't help but think they were putting a lot of hope in a good education leading to a good life. That isn't always true.

I know a number of highly educated people, with no job skills at all. I also know what it was like to go to a very good private high school into a terrible state university. Not all education takes place in those first 12 years. And, having a terrific education during those years, does not guarantee a happy, or lucrative career life.

I found the sadness over the lotteries kind of overdone, too. Part of me felt bad for the families, but part of me felt like - that's life. We don't always get every advantage we desire. It's how we deal with those setbacks, that shows who we are.