I was hoping not to post anything today but after reading an article from Huffington Post I could not resist. Apparently, many people have seen the screening of David Guggenheim’s (An Inconvenient Truth) Waiting for Superman and many people did not like it.
I’ve read a number of critiques, mostly from educators. Diane Ravitch wrote about why Michele Rhee (featured in the film as a hero for education reform) and the Washington D.C. mayor that appointed her, lost. As in, they were not re-elected. Professor Aaron Pallas meticulously discusses his view that Waiting for Superman is not a film but a clever piece of propaganda. You might think Pallas was screaming conspiracy. On the contrary, he was quite level headed in his criticism.
The best piece thus far came from the Huffington Post. USF Education professor Rick Ayers blasted Waiting for Superman. His post is an excellent almost bullet point critique of Superman’s main points. The film vilifies teachers and teachers unions. It simplifies a very complicated problem and supposes that all the country needs is charter schools and merit pay of teachers based solely on standardized tests.
Here goes a nice nugget from Ayers’ post:
The poster advertising the film shows a nightmarish battlefield in stark grey, then a little white girl sitting at a desk is dropped in the midst of it. The text: “The fate of our country won’t be decided on a battlefield. It will be determined in a classroom.” This is a common theme of the so-called reformers: we are at war with India and China and we have to out-math them and crush them so that we can remain rich and they can stay in the sweatshops. But really, who declared this war? When did I as a teacher sign up as an officer in this war? And when did that 4th grade girl become a soldier in it? I have nothing against the Chinese, the Indians, or anyone else in the world — I wish them well. Instead of this Global Social Darwinist fantasy, perhaps we should be helping kids imagine a world of global cooperation, sustainable economies, and equity.
The purpose of documentary film is to provide a well rounded view of a clear subject. The filmmaker is suppose to present this information and allow the audience to form their own opinion. The biggest issue with the film so far is that it doesn’t provide a counter narrative. At no point does the film address the extremely loud opposition most of which are teachers, students, parents and professors of education. That doesn’t sound right to me.
I encourage you to become well versed on what some people are considering to be the beginning of a corporate ran school system. Check out a counter narrative here. A group of folks are making their own film – The Inconvenient Truth of Waiting for Superman.