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Five Hearts

"There's something happening here..."

Written by Steven Walker

I was afraid of this documentary.  I have seen first hand how poor the public education system is.  I know the damage a bad teacher can do to a child’s life.  I did not want to rub my face in the hopelessness of it all.

And make no mistake: this movie will make you angry.  Watching perfectly good kids forced to enter a humiliating lottery for the precious few open seats in the only good schools near them is one of the more heartbreaking things I have ever seen. That this has become common practice in the ‘land of prosperity’ should make every American hang their head in shame.

However, the thrill of Waiting for Superman is that it is not just interested in telling you that there is a problem.  It is bold enough to shine an aggressive spotlight on the sources of the problem and present a solution that has been proven to work.  Even as it breaks your heart, it uplifts you with the knowledge that there is a way to fix it, if only we can convince the people in power to embrace it.

The film makes a strong case that there are two main causes for the nightmare scenario our children now face.  The first the Orwellian web of red tape that has grown out of the conflict between the federal board of education and the state boards of education.  Apparently there is great confusion and disagreement over who gets to make the important decisions, and this leads to a situation where nothing ever changes.

The second culprit is the Teachers Union, which has long stopped being about what is best for kids and has become a system designed exclusively to keep teachers employed even if it is imperially proven that they are awful at their jobs.  In one of the film’s most heart-wrenching lines, a young mother tells about how a teacher who refused to tutor her after class once said, “I get paid the same whether you learn anything or not.”  How did we let this happen?

I am not a father. I have never had to confront the decision of what school to send my child to.  I now understand that it may be one of the most important decisions a person will make in their lives.

I don’t want to spend any more time describing this movie, except to say go see it. If you are a parent, especially of a school-aged child, you owe it to yourself and their future to go see it.  If you are an American who wants to be proud of your country, you should go see it.  If you are a human who values knowledge, then go see it.  If you are not one of those things, then you are probably not reading this anyway.

 

 

 

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