Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fast and Furious

Responses to Waiting for Superman are all over the media world. Some of them drive me crazy, as they accept his assumption that we have figured out how to measure "good schools" and "good teachers" with standardized tests, and could give every child a "good education" if we just made more spots available in charters. Many echo my own response to the film: I'm glad that people are talking about what needs to be changed in our schools, but: Whoa Nelly! Take a closer look before thinking that galloping down the charter school path in and of itself is the answer!

Here are a couple of articles I particularly appreciated:
This youtube video: (some of whose information could have been very useful to balance Guggenheim's questionable factoids)

So then here we come, trotting behind a well-financed and publicized film like Waiting for You Know Who. By showing that learning is not like that dreadful animation of a teacher pouring knowledge into the open heads of students, can we make use of the momentum Guggenheim has created to "initiate a gigantic, messy, national conversation that would take place in every neighborhood, every barrio, every ghetto of every city and every town, to raise the questions: "What knowledge and experiences are most valuable? What makes someone an educated person? How do we make that knowledge and experience accessible to all students?" (Bill Ayers words from a recent Truthout article)? That is our challenge.

Every day I find new allies online. Some are voices that have been there for a long time, but that I hadn't run across, but also there are teachers and parents who are just now ready to speak out.

A few months ago we were told (in so many words) by the Fledgling Foundation that they couldn't fund us although they loved our film. They felt the education community was so divided that the time wasn't at hand where a film could have much impact. I think I will write to them now and see if they still feel the same way.

1 comment:

  1. Amy,
    I loved the trailer and am anxious to see the film. About 10 years ago I taught in a multiage classroom of children ages 6-9 and loved every minute of it. It looked and sounded like your film. But the requirements of NCLB led the administrators to call a halt to our school-within-a-school experiment. They were worried about test scores. So I left and have since retired. If it hadn't been for the test prep pressure I might still be in the classroom.

    Thanks for your efforts.