Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NOT Waiting for Superman

by David A. Sanchez
CTA President
I’m sure most of you have heard about the latest film attacking the teachers unions—Waiting for Superman—which opens in L.A. this Friday, and the rest of the state October 3. This is one of three movies out right now talking about teachers and public education. Like many of Arne Duncan’s education reform ideas, this movie is half-baked.
Unfortunately, traditional public schools— along with their students and their teachers— are strangely absent from this documentary. Director Davis Guggenheim attributes this partly to the fact that “a lot of schools don’t want you to shoot film in them, no matter who you are” – so instead of getting the story of what’s really going on, we get the story that Guggenheim could tell more easily. If you want to make a documentary about improving education, and if you want to make a documentary about daily feats of heroism, you shouldn’t ignore public schools.
Waiting for Superman will stir up the national discussion about public schools – following Newsweek’s shoddy report, and the L.A. Times recent attack – and it does so at the expense of public school teachers, our union and the students we serve. We can talk about what doesn’t work – slashed budgets, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of time for training and mentoring – but who would go see Waiting for a Fair and Balanced Conversation That Supports Our Students and Teachers, and Improves Learning?
We will be covering this issue in the upcoming October issue of the California Educator magazine. Until then,
And be sure to tell your own stories about public education to all who will listen. When your friends ask you about this movie, or even your day, tell them! You don’t have to see this movie to let your friends and neighbors know about the challenges, the rewards and the realities you encounter every day that you go to work in a California school. We can’t wait for Guggenheim or the L.A. Times to tell the complete story. We must speak up. We must speak out. We must stand together.
Join us on the CTA Facebook page where we are discussing this and much more.