Monday, January 10, 2011


WAITING FOR SUPERMAN is a simpleton's explanation of the problem's with America's public school system. It does a great job of explaining that the problems are much worse than most people realize, and backs that up with facts and statistics, then goes on to blame teachers' unions for the brunt of the problems, stating many things as though they are fact, when, in fact, they are just opinions, and not very well researched ones.

I come from a family of teachers, and I can tell you how difficult a job it is. Granted, all unions are flawed, but mostly because they don't have much power. This movie overstates to ridiculous proportion how much power the teachers' unions have. It misstates what tenure is in public school systems (when many systems do not even have tenure) and makes it sound like it's easy to get tenure, and that all teachers who get tenure become lazy bums.

Instead, they want to change the system to make teachers get reward pay for good performance. This of course introduces its own problems, as standardized tests are the only way to judge performance, and of course it's not solely up to the teacher how well a class does on tests.

To give such a simple critique of the system is the equivalent of the "No Child Left Behind" act that the filmmaker criticizes; you cannot with one simple change think that you are going to fix all of the problems associated with education.

There's no question that the education system is a mess. I talked about this at Renaissance Weekend. The real problem comes primarily from family situations that do not support education at home, and do not encourage their kids to study math, science, and languages. Until that changes, nothing will be fixed in America.
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