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View Diary: "Waiting for Superman" and Education Nation - more concerns (126 comments)

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  •  Thanks For The Diary (6+ / 0-)

    I watched Oprah Monday thanks to my DVR, and I was appalled. They showed three of the eight kids from the movie, and the story was always the same--the students needed to get out of their neighborhood schools as though their lives depended on it, and their lives were saved by charter schools or ruined by not getting into a magnet school. Bill Gates said there is not a good AFT building in the country.

    Here is the basic summary of what Gates, Oprah, and the Superman director were all saying: Give up on neighborhood schools. Our only hope is to send kids elsewhere. It was horrible. Oprah is known for not giving up hope in anybody, but if you teach in a neighborhood school, as teacherken and I do, she has given up hope in you. Fortunately, we don't need her help right now, but the long-term survival of neighborhood schools is now in doubt.

    Illinois is about to elect a governor who is going to balance the budget by slashing teacher pensions and public school budgets. We are a blue state, and he is not even trying to hide his goals, but he is ahead in the polls. Things are really bad, and they are getting worse.

    Oprah said during her show that she wanted a future in which a student didn't need a lottery draw to attend a good education. The connection she failed to draw is that the way to achieve her goal is strong neighborhood schools. By supporting charters as the schools of the future, she is supporting the lottery system. She promised on Friday to make a big announcement, and I just don't see any way that it will be one that brings us closer to having strong schools in every neighborhood. Oprah claims to be on the side of teachers and students, but she is not.

    The most emotional part of her show portrayed a young girl who was not allowed to attend her elementary school graduation because her mother had missed one or two $500 payments. I would think that the lesson should be that the *!%$!s who run that school should be drawn and quartered, but the whole episode was spun to show how heroic the mother was who spent every dime she had to send her daughter to a private school. Nobody pointed out that when she came up a few dollars short, the private school showed how little it cared about the well-being of her daughter.

    "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

    by Reino on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 07:12:21 PM PDT

    •  Because it's not about building strong neighbor- (6+ / 0-)

      hood schools! It's about breaking public education, and making it all privatized, union-free, and ideally for-profit ventures.

      I haven't watched Oprah yet. I need to, but I need to wait until the weekend so I can have my freakout in private.

      Change. Such a small word Full of grace, it comes alive As one embraces hope. The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

      by Edubabbler on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 07:51:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which is exactly the point (0+ / 0-)

      If only her mother had had a quality public school alternative, whether charter or district-based, they wouldn't have been in that position.

      It seems to me people aren't able to separate "blame the teacher" from "some public school districts are truly abysmal in the aggregate."  Three of my siblings and my best friend, in addition to many other friends, are public school teachers.  Some are in districts with the support and flexibility they need to do a fabulous job.  Some are so restricted and under-funded and teaching with some truly bad teachers who can't be fired that the overall outcome for the student is so much less than what the teacher could have produced in an ideal environment.

      Saying large public school systems in poor communities are broken is not "blaming the teacher." Let's get past that defensiveness and figure out what we can change to provide a quality education to ALL of our students.

      •  There is... (1+ / 0-)
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        more than schools that are broken in those communities. So why not tackle the real issues that cause student failure?

      •  OK (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that "some public school districts are truly abysmal in the aggregate." For me, the question comes down to whether somebody on the one hand wants to improve the school or come up with a replacement that all of the students in the community can attend or on the other hand wants to give up on that school and the possibility of serving all the students of the community. I think we as a nation are giving up.

        "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

        by Reino on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 05:19:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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