Waiting for Superman. Still Waiting.

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The Evil Spawn was gone last night.  I’m not sure I understand why sleeping at a friend’s house is exciting to a 9 year old girl, but I know why it’s exciting to me. 

Free time!!!

The Tech Queen took me out for dinner and a movie last night (it’s a glimpse of our future… a future of sweet, sweet freedom).Good, But Not Great.

And minus the oh so evil one, I didn’t have to sit through a Pixar/Disney/cartoon/talking animal/princess movie.

For at least one night, it was good to be me.

On a side note, if you are newly married, or considering marriage, please understand the following.  At some point in the future you will be giving birth (or watching… which I might add is no treat), so it’s important to go to the movies as much as possible before the baby arrives.

Sure, you will still go after you have children, but it’s not the same.

An entire decade (or more) of your movie life will vanish.  Plus, it takes at least $400 dollars to go with children (taffy alone is $150).

As you might guess, I like my movies heavy on car chases, fake violence, and really bad language.

But sadly, last night’s movie had none of these.

We went to see a documentary.

I’m not going to lie to you, if I could find my man card I would turn it in.

A documentary?  Yes, a documentary.

As educators we had no choice but to see Waiting for Superman.

It’s the movie that’s going to change education.


The movie is good, but it’s a documentary.

Which means no one is going to see it.

And that’s a shame.

The movie does a very good job at telling the story of how public education is in trouble.  The lowlights are:

• Crappy grade schools make crappier middle schools which then feed into the crappiest high schools, which become drop-out factories.

• The United States has 14,000 local school boards which makes universal standards impossible.

• Bad schools lead to bad neighborhoods, as opposed to bad neighborhoods leading to bad schools.

• It’s more expensive to house a prisoner than it would be to send them to a private school.

• Teachers Unions feed the political campaign machine.  They outspend the Teamsters and NRA (Democrats get 90% of their money).

• Every President for the last 40 years pledges to be the “Education President” and none of them are.

In summary, this means far too many kids have a less than zero chance of getting a good education from the day they walk into kindergarten.

But I think most people already know this.

At least the people who would go to a documentary on public education know this.

Throwing more money at education isn’t working.  More testing isn’t working.  Empty campaign promises aren’t working.

And unfortunately, I don’t think a movie about what most of us already suspect will change any of this.

But what do I know.

I remember thinking how cool it was when I took a 2 year old to her first movie (Shrek).  And it was.


Now I ready to see 97 different explosion sequences.

Which as this movie explains is what probably needs to happen to public education.

From now on, I’m only watching Bruce Willis movies… strangely, I have a soft spot for bald guys.

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5 Responses to “Waiting for Superman. Still Waiting.”

  1. Olwyn Hughes
    on Nov 13th, 2010
    @ 6:55 pm

    I expect that going to a friend’s house is so much fun for her for the same reason it is fun for you…freedom! I now have whole weekends where my teenager is hardly to be seen. She is either out with friends or in her room. I get more freedom than I want some times!

  2. Alfred Thompson
    on Nov 13th, 2010
    @ 8:13 pm

    Old joke – When does life begin:
    Priest – at conception
    Minister – at birth
    Rabbi – when the last child leaves the house and the dog dies. :-)

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Alfred Thompson, I can live with the child leaving… but the dog dying.

    Now I’m sad.

  3. MB
    on Nov 14th, 2010
    @ 10:29 am

    I went to a movie too — Secretariat — here’s the quote that I will remember — maybe it can apply to education too … Choose the race, then run it!

  4. Mr. W
    on Nov 21st, 2010
    @ 8:58 pm

    I’m not sure that bad schools lead to bad neighborhoods, it might be the other way around. L.A. city schools were good, but then the neighborhoods began to change and then the schools became worse.

    It is an interesting question though. Almost like the chicken and the egg. I could see it both ways, but I don’t think this is a one way street.

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