The balls dopped as if in slow motion. The winners were announced one at a time. With each name joyous shrieks could be heard incontrast with desperate groans. As each name was called, the stress only increased for those whose names had yet to be called. Only 5 names left to be called, 3, 2, 1, lottery over. Parents and children were celebrating, screaming and yelling in jubilation as others were crying, shocked, still in their seats wondering what to do now. The contrast was painful to watch. Anger, saddness, fear and frustration all stewed inside me as I watched the end of Waiting for Superman. Watching the lives of children desperately seeking a better education deduced to the bounce of a ball, the pick of a card, the output of a computer. It was horrific.
Waiting for Superman left me angry, sad, and frustrated. Learning how bad the education system in this country is was crushing. Our children deserve more. Some sobering facts:
- The average cost of per student has grown from 10k a year to 33k a year yet their has been NO progress in test scores
- The U.S ranks 26 out of 33 first world countries in education
- There are schools who lose 65% of their students between 9th and 10th grade.
- There are schools in this country who graduate LESS than 60% of their students
- Only 1 in 2500 teachers loose their job for poor performance a year. Compared to 1 in 97 lawyers and 1 in 57 doctors
- Less than 50% of US students are proficient in Math by the 8th grade
- Less than 50% of US students are proficient in English by 8th grade
Our schools systems are failing our children. They are wrought with bureaucracy, inefficiency, and disfunction. Yet, despite efforts from Presidents, laws, and parents, nothing has changed. Waiting for Superman opens the door to a U.S. education system that is dying on the vine and puts much of the blame squarely on the powerful teachers union. Randi Weingarten the head of AFT Union is the antagonist pitted against Geoffrey Canada the protagonist and fiercely passionate defender of children and education system re-constructionist.
As I left, I couldn’t help but be angry at the media, at the Tea Party, at every group that is angry about “big” government, or the economy, or taxes, or Obama, or Nancy Pelosi or the Republicans. I couldn’t help but think as we are all protesting our anger and frustration about the apparent injustices we adults feel we are victims of, we are completely failing our children. Unlike us, they have no choice as we choose for them. We are making the decisions they have to live with. Not only do they have no choice today, as we continue to fail them we reduce what choices they may have as a adults to nothing.
Go see Waiting for Superman. I hope it makes you as mad as me and maybe if enough of us get angry something will change.