Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waiting for Superman

Director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) has struck again. This man who seems more interested in political propaganda than facts and reality has a new film out. It's called Waiting for Superman.

The film documents the academic journeys of five public school students who are desperate to escape the public school systems of Washington, D.C., New York, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles because they are, to quote chancellor Michelle Rhee of the DC ISD, "getting a really crappy education."

The basis behind this film is that the American public education system is horrendously behind in the global eduaction market. The movie postulates that the root of the problem is the teaching staff. The problem with this postulation? While the impact a teacher has on his/her students accounts for 10-20% of school-related success, non-school related factors impact student success by a whopping 60%! These non-school related factors include family income, family status, etc.

I bring this to my blog because it is amazing to me that people are looking to place societal blame everywhere but where it belongs. Since when is it a teacher's job to raise the children in his/her class? Since when is it a teacher's job to teach his/her students manners and personal hygiene? Last time I checked, those responsibilities were assigned to the family. Which means that the root cause of these societal problem is the deterioration of the family.

Isn't that a novel idea?

I understand that it is hard for unmarried mothers and fathers to raise their children and work at the same time. I understand that it is hard for grandparents who've adopted their grandchildren to have the energy needed to raise a child. I really do. But at the same time, anything that's worth doing is often hard, and I'm not sure I can think of anything more worthy of doing than raising a child well.

So, to those dedicated to education reform, you might want to start thinking about reforming the divorced, drugged, dead-beat, abusive, and neglectful family. It's a societal cornerstone that is currently crumbling.

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