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Entries in Failed education (1)

Thursday
Oct212010

Racing to Nowhere While Waiting for Superman

By Ellen Bari

There are two documentary films about our messed up education system that all mothers should see: Race to Nowhere and Waiting for Superman. Both end with a clear call to action.  

Race to Nowhere is directed by a mom, Vicki H. Abeles, who was so upset by watching the children in her family, and in her community, implode from external pressure to perform and unrealistic expectations, that she decided to make her first feature documentary. Her call to action is directed to specific audiences: parents, teachers, administrators, students.  In the director’s words, “childhood has become indentured to test scores, performance and competition. We face an epidemic of unhealthy, disengaged, unprepared kids trying to manage as best they can.”

In Waiting for Superman, the exquisite graphics that are the hallmark of Academy Award-winning director and producer Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), make clear that the responsibility comes down to one person…you.  Waiting for Superman attempts to spell out the trajectory that has led our public education system into its current state of decline. The film condemns policies that insure tenure for teachers, no matter how ineffectual they are, as well as the polar disparity between schools in good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods where the children continue to be grossly under-served by the system. The film also highlights a number of successful educational institutions led by a small number of visionaries in the U.S.  today, and implies that if these people were able to make miracles happen, salvation can come from any one of us.

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