Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Waiting for Superman

So I saw Waiting For Superman and it was just as depressing as I thought it would be. Our schools are a mess. Check. We had to pretty much do what a lot of parents must do now, and that is to lottery or permit your way into a better school. That is really just wrong on so many different levels.

Our “home school” is close by and in a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by expensive homes. And I know not one of those kids living in those homes goes to that school because after we toured it, we realized it was a mess. We have neighbors with young kids on either side of us, neither sends their kids to our “home school”.

One thought is, well, if your school is bad, get involved and make it better. Sorry, don’t have time for that and that’s really the principal’s job. Why would I subject my child to a bad school when I can send her to a better one down the road and get involved there, thus making a good school even greater? It takes years to make a school better, even with strong PTA involvement and by that time your child has already paid the price.

The movie focuses a lot on the teachers unions and while their tenure is a problem (It is next to impossible to fire an incompetent teacher) there are many other problems. Lack of funding and all sorts of bureaucracy hinders the evolution of our schools.

And our schools NEED to evolve. They just have to. We have an unemployment crisis in this country and high tech jobs are going unfilled because of a lack of education and training.

So fix it. The solutions seem so simple. Eliminate tenure. Lengthen the school day (no parent would be against that) Increase the funding. Stop having teachers pay for school supplies. Eliminate waste from the top down, not the bottom up as most companies do. Cut administrators and salaries at the top and work your way down to the teachers. Without good teachers, there is no education system.

I’m not trying to get on a high horse here, but this affects everyone, not just people with kids. As the film shows a bad school pours hundreds of uneducated, unmotivated kids back into the community. What are they going to do? What CAN they do? Not work at Oracle, that’s for sure.
Right now we are in a good grade school. But what about middle school? Then it starts all over again… but I’m already exhausted.


Vodka Mom said...

I'm a teacher. I LOVE my job, I LOVE the children in my room, and I know I am not alone.

It breaks my heart to think that people are thinking horrible things about our profession.

I know that we are not ALL as committed, but it's just like any profession. Yes, we all need to be educated about what is happening in our communities and our schools, but we need to believe in the teachers, give them respect, and hold them in high regard.
After all, we DO give them our precious, precious gifts; our kids.

seekingelevation said...

My husband is a teacher, too. It's a hard gig. He works at one of the schools that you hope your child doesn't have to go to. He's a good teacher. It's not enough to make a good school. I hate that our educational system has become a place divided by economics and race. At the same time, I'm with you on not wanting to sacrifice my kids to it. Not sure what the answer is, but it's good to think about.

Chocolate Diapers said...

Found your blog from the mommywantsvodka blog roll.

I used to teach on the high school level, and it was extremely frustrating learning how much our feeder schools had failed our freshmen. Many of the kids were ill-prepared, reading and writing on 5th grade levels, it was staggering. It was clear that rather than doing the hard work to teach at-risk children, these schools just blindly passed them through.

Chris Mancini said...

Wow, some great comments! Thanks for sharing, everyone. I really think the only way it is going to get better is when we as parents and teachers demand it, together.

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