Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting For Superman Challenged by Teachers in San Francisco: An insult to teachers and students

Before I get to this report, I wanted to give you an update on our own actions here in NYC in response to the film – at least what I am at liberty to say right now. GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) is moving ahead on our own film – The Inconvenient Truth About Waiting for Superman – which we hope to have completed by the end of October. Hopefully the trailer will be finished in time for the Superman release next week. We will debut it here on Ed Notes. We are also working on some songs around the theme of the "Will the Real Reformers Please Stand Up" and might even perform it in various locations and meetings. We will be looking for volunteers to join in so start gargling. We may even have instruments. If you are planning to see the film it is opening in LA and NYC on Friday, Sept. 24 and will be showing at the Lincoln Square cinemas near Lincoln Center. I can write the rave reviews from the anti-union press right now. Some of us are going that night so we can produce a fact sheet to refute the inconvenient truths for our movie. Email me for details if you want to join us.

An insult to teachers and students

September 14, 2010

A NUMBER of members of Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU) and a few leaders from our union, United Educators of San Francisco (UESF), attended the advanced screening of Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman.

We were there to pass out some leaflets and challenge the director of the movie, who would be speaking at the end.

What about the movie?

Yikes! Let me try and summarize: The problems with public education is bad teachers, the tenure that protects them and the unions that protect tenure. The problem is not funding, because plenty of money has been thrown at schools to succeed. The solution is charters. Also, there is some criticism of "tracking," which is probably the only part of the movie I agreed with.

That's about it. When Guggenheim took questions afterward, he opened with the fact that he was a "friend of public education," that he liked unions, and that he was not saying charters were the answer.

The problem was that the entire thrust of his movie contradicted that. It was crazy.

UESF leaders and EDUers were able to get questions out to him that challenged the frame of his movie: Why are you attacking unions? Why don't you mention funding? Or the larger political questions facing the country?

Guggenheim was mostly patronizing, saying that he couldn't include "everything." Regarding unions, he said he was in a union (the Director's Guild) and he supported unions and the protections they provide. Presumably, he is for protections for everyone except teachers. He also called himself a leftist, saying that believed in social justice...after bashing unions and teachers.

I stuck around afterward to invite Guggenheim to come to Mission High School and actually see how public education works to serve our neediest students. I also told him that I was disappointed by his attack on unions, which had been the only protection many of us had this year when the budget ax came swinging down.

I overheard him talking to an aide saying "Wow! This was a tough crowd." She replied, "Well, it is San Francisco."

I was surprised by this, because he had only fielded four or five questions at most. We hadn't even started!

Finally, for a movie titled Waiting for Superman in which "Superman" is supposed to be a great teacher (white and male, I guess), this movie did not contain a single interview with a teacher. It had a grainy camera inside a class which showed teachers reading a newspaper. It showed clips from School of Rock and the Simpsons but no teachers

Who was interviewed? Principals of charters, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and, of course, Bill Gates' ugly mug was all over the movie.

My final question to Mr. Guggenheim is, if you are really "Waiting for Superman" why do you spend so much time in your movie interviewing Lex Luthor?

Andy Libson, San Francisco

http://socialistworker.org/2010/09/14/insult-to-teachers-and-students

3 comments:

  1. I think it is a trap for us to focus our response to the movie on defending teachers. They have prepared a host of soundbites to drown any defense of public education or teachers.

    Instead, expose the corrupt agenda of privatization. Virtual charters are expanding, and the industry is a cesspool of fraud. There is no "evidence" to support the RttT demand to expand them. Kaplan Higher Education has been caught massively defrauding students and taxpayers, and Kaplan also operates Kaplan K12 Learning, which is expanding its despicable tax-funded for-profit "in-district" charter school business plan.

    The Washington Post Corporation owns Kaplan, Michelle Rhee feeds their bottom line by purchasing their useless edujunk, and the voters of DC have had enough of their self-righteous and self-serving attacks on the real defenders of children.

    Bill Gates promotes "innovation" that pours tax money into his Microsoft megafortune. He isn't "giving" anything - he has leveraged his "gifts" so they can only be used for his own profit. His grants have strings attached, and he pulls the strings. He is the FUD master (Google it if you don't recognize the epithet).

    The "value added" metrics he and Rhee are demanding are very expensive random number machines, and the DOE's own research reveals they are nonsense. He is mandating something worse than Windows Vista, to sow an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt in your childs very classroom. The cybercharters are advertizing online right now: "Does your child hate school?"

    Their agenda is to corrode the quality of life itself for our children, so they have to flee their stifling, standards-driven classrooms. There is no data showing children are educated when they sit alone in front of a terminal, consuming Kaplan's garbage.

    Bill Gates is not Superman. He is the Naked Emperor, leading us through a wasteland of fraud, manipulation and self-dealing, dressed in his invisible Superman suit.

    And we should stop saying Education Deformers. Say liars, say cheats.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I apologise if this is a double posting. My screen says the comment didn't go through, the url is too long, then it says it will appear, then it doesn't appear.

    I think it is a trap for us to focus our response to the movie on defending teachers. They have prepared a host of soundbites to drown any defense of public education or teachers.

    Instead, expose the corrupt agenda of privatization. Virtual charters are expanding, and the industry is a cesspool of fraud. There is no "evidence" to support the RttT demand to expand them. Kaplan Higher Education has been caught massively defrauding students and taxpayers, and Kaplan also operates Kaplan K12 Learning, which is expanding its despicable tax-funded for-profit "in-district" charter school business plan.

    The Washington Post Corporation owns Kaplan, Michelle Rhee feeds their bottom line by purchasing their useless edujunk, and the voters of DC have had enough of their self-righteous and self-serving attacks on the real defenders of children.

    Bill Gates promotes "innovation" that pours tax money into his Microsoft megafortune. He isn't "giving" anything - he has leveraged his "gifts" so they can only be used for his own profit. His grants have strings attached, and he pulls the strings. He is the FUD master (Google it if you don't recognize the epithet).

    The "value added" metrics he and Rhee are demanding are very expensive random number machines, and the DOE's own research reveals they are nonsense. He is mandating something worse than Windows Vista, to sow an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt in your childs very classroom. The cybercharters are advertizing online right now: "Does your child hate school?"

    Their agenda is to corrode the quality of life itself for our children, so they have to flee their stifling, standards-driven classrooms. There is no data showing children are educated when they sit alone in front of a terminal, consuming Kaplan's garbage.

    Bill Gates is not Superman. He is the Naked Emperor, leading us through a wasteland of fraud, manipulation and self-dealing, dressed in his invisible Superman suit.

    And we should stop saying Education Deformers. Say liars, say cheats.

    chemtchr.dailykos.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a former teacher I hope this movie rips into the profession even more. The union did not do sh*t for me except take my money and apologize for those of us w/o tenure in Hernando County FL (I had 20 years with the state of FL) who got laid off due to lack of government funding...did you hear that? LACK of funding.

    Unions are good yet hypocritical. Administrations and boards are corrupt and political. Charter school produce results and hold high ratings because they dont put up with he crap that public schools are forced to.

    Its a doubt edged sword and only the destruction of the present educational system will ever produce results during the rebuilding. I await the day of enlightenment for parents AND teachers who will take control AND responsibility for lil Johnny as well as making HIM accountable as well.

    My wife and I home school our child and are proud of that fact. Our child will know truth in research, God, family, and country. Our child will not be fed the bullsh*t that is fed in today's politically correct educational environment.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.