Waiting For Superman Movie "Overblown"

100927_talkcmmntillus_p233I'm no apologist for the status quo -- but I'm no reformy over-enthusiast, either.  So it's amusing and informative to see how easily the New Yorker's Nick Lemann punches holes in much of the nonsense that's out there right now on the blogs and in the media (The overblown crisis in American education).  The crisis narrative is overheated, says Lemann.  The storyline is suspiciously pat.  The proposed solutions -- charters, eliminating tenure -- are much less certain than acknowledged.  "We would do well to appreciate what our country has built, and to try to fix what is undeniably wrong without declaring the entire system to be broken," he notes.  "One should treat any perception that something so large is so completely awry with suspicion, and consider that it might not be true--especially before acting on it." [Cross-posted from TWIE]

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  • Things are about to get crazy now that Oprah has decided to promote the documentary and the message that the public education system in the US in broken beyond repair and the best answer to the crisis is the Charter School system. I hope we all take a look at the data, ask questions and make decisions for ourselves and not jump on the latest frenzy perpetrated by Oprah and her minions.

  • There already are a lot of quality teachers in our schools. Technology isn't the answer as many of us attended schools where the technology available was reel-to-reel films and slide shows with accompanying LPs (beep). Yet somehow we learned.

    I think the ones that are important are:

    parental assistance and involvement--just at a minimum getting the student to school on time consistently, making sure the student does his reading and homework, and backing up the school when there are behavior issues.

    effective strategies: this is a big bucket. It seems to me that US schools do quite well in areas that don't suffer the effect of segregated poverty. Schools that have segregated poverty include both some urban schools and some rural schools. I'm not convinced that anyone has ever devised a method of educating students as a bulk who suffer from the effects of segregated poverty. Find an effective strategy for that, and I think you've got something.

  • Race to Nowhere looks like a fabulous film. Interesting it is receiving only one screening in Illinois--Glen Elyn's Waldorf School. Perhaps Hubie and Duncan put the kabosh on us seeing it.

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