The documentary, “Waiting for Superman”, on the other hand, argued that non-unionized charter schools would do a better job, and the public schools were failing the nation due to teacher unions protecting incompetent teachers.
However, according to Dona Goldstein writing for Slate, “Only 17 percent of charters are consistently better than traditional public schools at raising students’ math and reading scores.”
In fact, it helps to know who funded “Waiting for Superman” and the small fortune that promoted the film.
To discover that answer, Alan Singer, writing for Huffington Post, says, “The real question for me is where the money came from to make the pseudo-documentary and who is paying to promote a movie that no one apparently wants to see. The answer, of course, is from “Big Bill” Gates and a gaggle of hedge fund investors who smell mega-profits if government financed private for profit McSchools are allowed to muscle in on public school dollars.
“The film is executive produced and financed by Participant Media, which was founded by former eBayist Jeffrey Skoll.
“Participant Media’s current CEO is Jim Berk. When Berk was Chairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges Corporation, he was responsible for the formation of a private company operating for-profit schools…
“The Denver-based Charter School Growth Fund, a nonprofit venture capital fund, recently announced it had secured $80 million in initial commitments with big donations coming from among others the Walton Family Foundation. Wal-Mart is also a big supporter of the Waiting for “Superman” social action campaign and seems primed to provide us with Wal-Mart Academies modeled on big box stores that destroy communities and small businesses, drive down wages, and provide us with endless quantities of junk.”
– a Conversation on “Waiting for Superman” held at Stanford University –
In addition, Dana Goldstein, writing for The Nation, says, “Here’s what you don’t see in “Waiting for Superman”:
“You don’t see teen moms, households without an adult English speaker or headed by a drug addict, or any of the millions of children who never have a chance to enter a charter school lottery (or get help with their homework or a nice breakfast) because adults simply aren’t engaged in their education. These children, of course, are often the ones who are most difficult to educate, and the ones neighborhood public schools can’t turn away.”
“You also don’t learn that in the Finnish education system, much cited in the film as the best in the world, teachers are—gasp!—unionized and granted tenure, and families benefit from a cradle-to-grave social welfare system that includes universal daycare, preschool and healthcare, all of which are proven to help children achieve better results at school.”
Note from Blog host: America’s public school teachers are expected to create miracles as if they have super powers by overcoming many almost impossible obstacles and when they don’t, they are often crucified by public education’s enemies and critics.
I know what I am talking about because I worked as a public school teacher in Southern California for thirty years and my average work week was sixty to hundred hours a week and the challenges that I faced daily were daunting to say the least.
What is a teacher to do when parents do not supervise homework at home or provide reading time? In fact, over the years, I heard parents tell their child that if the child didn’t want to do the work the teacher assigned, they didn’t have to.
Conspiracy theories abound but in the case of America’s schools, the war being waged on teachers and their unions and the accusations that the reason the average America’s school child is mediocre is the fault of incompetent teachers that cannot be fired has all the earmarks of a conspiracy of dunces based on lies and myths that have no foundation in truth/facts.
Where is the evidence that there are so many failing teachers that it is the reason America’s students are not measuring up? There is none. Although there are incompetent teachers in the public schools (I knew a few – less than 5 out of hundreds), there are not enough of them.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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