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"Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education system

Do you plan to see "Waiting For Superman"?


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Kandahar

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I was curious if anyone plans to see this documentary, and what your thoughts on education reform are.

"Waiting For Superman" premiers in many large cities this Friday. If you order your ticket via their website (Waiting For "Superman" | Trailer & Official Movie Site | Pledge Now), $15 will be donated to the school of your choice.

The movie chronicles the sorry state of our education system, and puts the blame squarely where it belongs: The teachers unions and school boards that refuse to accept any innovation in education. It also features interviews with a number of prominent reformists, including Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, and Bill Gates.

As a DC resident, I'm a big fan of Michelle Rhee and everything she has done to improve DC's public schools. By firing incompetent teachers and confronting the teachers unions, she managed to raise DC's proficiency scores from 29% to 43% in only three years. That's why I was so sad when Adrian Fenty lost his mayoral reelection bid this past Tuesday; he has given Rhee his unqualified support. I hope that the new mayor will keep Michelle Rhee, but I fear that he will not.

I'm glad that Obama and Arne Duncan have decided to confront the teachers' unions head-on. Race To The Top is a great new federal program buried in the economic stimulus bill, that rewards the states most willing to innovate in education. It will encourage states to allow merit pay and charter schools.

What are your thoughts on education reform?
 
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earthworm

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

Probably not, I am hard of hearing, but the movie volume is so high that it is painful. Televising is bad enough with their "cool" idea of having the actors whisper all the time.
Plus ,I only watch M Moore movies...
No one man or group should take the "blame".
Its all of us.
The libs blame the board, the cons blame the unions.
We need men in this country who play not the blame games, but just do the right thing.
 

Gardener

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

What are your thoughts on education reform?
My first thought is that he song "Waiting for Superman" by The Flaming Lips is one of my favorite songs by any band in any period ever.

Having dispensed with that, I'd say the biggest failing of our educational system isthe one size fits all approach. It fails the gifted students, especially, as it teaches at such a low level that too many bright, inquisitive children gets bored, tune out and become troublesome.
 
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marduc

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

My first thought is that he song "Waiting for Superman" by The Flaming Lips is one of my favorite songs by any band in any period ever.

Having dispensed with that, I'd say the biggest failing of our educational system isthe one size fits all approach. It fails the gifted students, especially, as it teaches at such a low level that too many bright, inquisitive children gets bored, tune out and become troublesome.
Its learning for the sake of learning, its not an enriching, rewarding, independent exploration into topics of interest, but rather a rote driven generalized force feeding of standardized mediocrity.

edit: and while we are expounding on our education system, it is far to driven by the whims of politicians who although being able to coast into office via charisma are way to selectively educated (if at all) to determine curriculum
 
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RightinNYC

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

It sounds like it's making an important argument from a perspective I'd probably agree with, but I really have a hard time getting excited for advocacy films. I'm glad someone made it though.
 

Technocratic

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

Some of the problem is that many "innovations" are either unproven or have empirical evidence that is muddy or shows it doesn't work. Recent studies on the utility of merit-pay schemes shows that the ones being tested do not have the desired effect. Over a three year period, teachers participated in a pilot programme wherein teachers would get bonuses and higher pay scales tied to student performance on standardized tests. The control group teachers did not perform differently than their peers. The merit pay scheme specifically advised by the Dept. of Ed doesn't work.
 

RosieS

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

In Florida, charter schools don't measure up when compared to district schools:


The state has 334 charter schools, up more than 10 percent
from the 2004–05 school year.

• Nearly 1 out of 11 public schools is a charter school.
• Nearly 3.5 percent of students attend a charter school.
Over half of all charter school students are pre-K and
elementary school-age children.

In the 2004-05 school year, charter schools served a student
population demographically similar to district schools: 52
percent of children enrolled in charter schools are children of
color, compared to 51 percent in district schools.

Six percent of charter schools are conversions from district
schools.

Just over 50 percent of charter schools received grades of A
or B under the state accountability system in 2005, compared
to 66 percent of district schools. Twenty-six percent of charter
schools received a D or an F, compared to only 11 percent of
district schools.

As of January 2006, 62 charter schools have been closed,
more than 15 percent of all the charter schools that had been
opened. (Nationally, the rate is closer to seven percent.) More
than a third of the charter schools closures in Florida have been
due to financial mismanagement. The other major reasons
include lack of enrollment and school governance issues.

In the 2005-06 school year, 69 percent of charter applicants
whose district denied their application appealed their case to
the State Board. In 53 percent of those cases, the State Board
ruled on behalf of the charter schools.

Charter schools in the state are small: The average charter
elementary school enrolls 292 students, compared to 674
students in the average district elementary school. Seventy
percent of charter schools enroll fewer than 300 students.
One‑third enroll fewer than 100 students.

During fiscal year 2003, charter schools received 11.4 percent
less funding than district schools: $7,831 vs. $6,936 per pupil.

Seventy-six percent of charter school funding comes from the
state, compared to 45 percent of district funding. Forty-three
percent of charter schools are not eligible for state capital
outlay funds.

Sources: J. Allen, and M. Looney, Charter School Closures: The Opportunity for
Accountability, The Center for Education Reform, October, 2002; Meagan
Batdorff, Chester E. Finn, Bryan Hassel, Larry Maloney, Eric Osberg, Sheree
Speakman, and Michelle Terrell, Charter School Funding: Inequity’s Next Frontier,
Thomas B. Fordham Institute, August, 2005.

This is a sidebar from Florida Charter School Report:
http://www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/Florida_Charter_School_Report.pdf

Regards from Rosie
 

UtahBill

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

Think about it this way....If you were a politician and had a choice between an educated, informed electorate, or an uneducated, propagandized electorate, which would you choose?
If you are a bonafied nice guy politician who wants to do what is right by the country, you might choose the former. If you are a sleazeball, you probably want the latter...
 

mikeey

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

All of my family went to a privet shcool except me in dundee high shcool where William wallace

went our great leader,small classes of 17,all of my doctors are from there,and english is 80% pass,u cant get any better than that.

kind regards mikeey
 

samsmart

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

Probably not, I am hard of hearing, but the movie volume is so high that it is painful. Televising is bad enough with their "cool" idea of having the actors whisper all the time.
Nearly all movies and tv shows have Closed Captions you can turn on. DVDs have subtitles.

I have a minor hearing problem as well, and that's how I watch tv. In fact, it's the only way I watch tv.
 

samsmart

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Re: "Waiting For Superman" - a documentary about the sorry state of our education sys

Personally, I think one problem when it comes to education is that it's become far too politicized. We've got too many agendas and factions all vying for more control over it.

I think the Department of Education should stick itself to being an administration force and nothing else.

I think local school boards should be made up of an equal number of 1) teachers, 2) administrators, 3) parents, 4) students and each individual school should have a high degree of autonomy but national standards.

I think we should start having two separate types of high schools - those focused on academic knowledge and those focused on technical skills. Those becoming mechanics don't need to know in-depth history of the Dark Ages, and those who excel at English don't need to know the details of how the pancreas works.

I think that once we get into high school, we need to let our kids start to focus on one discipline or another. They still need to know the basics of other subjects, but let's help them specialize in the specialized society we live in nowadays.

Also, we should start paying students to go to school. That'll go a long way too.
 
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