Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Political Kryptonite and the Teachers Who Hurl It

David Guggenheim's documentary "Waiting for Superman" is getting a lot of notice, especially from unionized public school teachers who hate it.

Guggenheim is a good liberal who has finally come to face the reality that urban public schools are a disaster for the poor kids forced to attend them. The charter school movement has allowed a relative handful of poor minority families to escape these failing schools and send their children to better schools, much to the chagrin of those who run these failure

"Waiting for Superman" is about the lottery held each year in Washington D.C. that allows kids to get into one of these schools.

Democrats recently killed federal funding that allowed 1,700 mostly black children opportunity scholarships to flee the worst of the public schools because that's what the teachers' unions wanted. And with Democrats, what the unions want, the unions get. And to hell with kids. They don't donate to Democratic political campaigns. And neither do their parents. But teachers do.

Writing in the liberal American Prospect, Gabriel Arana also blasts the movie as too simple and "reductive."

In her piece, Arana mentions an excellent teacher she had as a high schooler who was well prepared, knew the subject matter (Physics) and controlled her class. But she left after a year. Arana doesn't seem to understand that the stultifying, unionized and bureaucratic culture of urban public schools is exactly what drives good teachers to leave them.

Charter schools empower principals and teachers alike to enforce a strong and decisive normative culture of learning, as opposed to the bureaucratic, rules-oriented, appeals-laden model that has evolved over the last 50 years in almost all public schools.

Arana and her ilk just don't get it. But more and more honest liberals like Guggenheim do. It took Nixon to go to China. Maybe Guggenheim is the Nixon who can convince fellow liberals that averting their eyes to the disaster that are today's urban schools is just plain heartless.

In the 60's, it was Southern bigots who used to stand in the doorways of public schools to prevent black kids from entering. Today it is Democrats and teacher unions who are standing in the doorways and preventing them from leaving.

This may be the most important civil rights issues of our time. Guggenheim gets it and more will, if they see his movie.

I have posted the trailer before. Here it is again.

2 Comments:

Blogger /mr said...

I realize that you are appealing to an extremely common denominator who gravitate to your simplistic and banal tonic, but for your own edification you ought to read Sommerby on this, he's been writing all week on education, with particular reference to Guggenheim's loathsome and pernicious film.

October 7, 2010 at 12:49 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Funny how Guggenheim isn't so loathsome and pernicious when his films mirror the conventional wisdom of the liberal left - "An Inconvenient Truth" - but when he takes on one of the richest and most politically powerful public employee unions in America, he's nothing but an evil hack.

Talking about drinking the kool-aid!

And, Matthew, for someone who reads Somerby so religiously, you really ought to be able to spell his name correctly.

October 7, 2010 at 2:22 PM 

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