If the education system isn’t An Inconvenient Truth these days……
From the filmmaker that brought us An Inconvenient Truth, now that the environment has been covered, it’s time to tackle the U.S. Educational System and gives names to some of the faces to those who are easily forgotten. The children.
For years, it has been a struggle. The children/ schools in the United States have been under performing compared to other countries. Guggenheim takes the viewer through the challenges of inner city schools, the suburban schools, charter schools, the government and the unions that represent educators. He throws facts and charts and interviews well-known figures like Bill Gates and the ones that are fighting the systems and making a difference.
Disclaimer: As a reviewer I will keep this real and because it is a documentary there’s not a lot of plot points you can discuss without telling the whole story, so this review will be a bit different, a little more opinion based.
Overall, I thought it is a good conversation starter. It helped highlight those who are making a difference and who are good teachers/ administrators. It did focus more on the inner city and minority races more, but it still opened the door to show case what they are doing about the problem schools. Although it had some good points and facts, several other issues that were touched on but not focused on, should have been more prominent. Issue #1: In the film, it makes a point of how the educational system 50-60 years ago, the U.S. was the leader, bringing forth some of the brightest minds. What changed? Most families back then had a parent that stayed at home while the other worked depending on their economic situation. Children today, may or may not have a parental figure present that cares about their well-being in life. Parents have a lot of stress these days; kids pick up on that and are bringing those issues with them into the classroom. Then the teachers have to deal with it and it becomes a vicious cycle. It all starts in the home. Parents need to step up and take a more active roll in their child(ren)’s life. Most of the inner city kids don’t have a parent around or one who even cares, so what do they do? Turn to people or organizations that will fulfill those needs (i.e. gangs, crime, etc.)
Issue#2: What are they teaching in the schools these days? Why aren’t our children able to grasp it? Is it a key word that they don’t understand or is it something else?
Issue #3: The Unions. When most of these Unions were established it was to create better working conditions, fair wages, etc. In present times, it appears to be that the Unions care more about their own agendas that are more politically, economically driven than what’s really important – the children. The more regulations and people you have in the mix, the more of a (pardon my French, here) cluster-fuck and the ones who truly suffer are the good teachers and every child in our country. What would happen if the Unions were either dissolved or brought down in their power-strangling ways, how much of an impact that would have for us all? Some food for thought here, kids.
Like so many people are trying to do these days, this is another wake up call for all of us who have been caught up in the drama of our own lives and have let the world around them run amuck. Well kids, it’s time to wake up and start paying attention. Get involved and use your voice that you were born with. Question things, get active in your kid’s life, get active in your child’s school and demand better because these are the people who will be taking care of you when you are old. Think back to when you were in school; did you have that one teacher who made a difference in your life? I know I had a few and my life is better for it.
One last thought to leave you with. If people would stop turning away from those that are the most unlovable and show a little compassion, would we have half of the drama and issues that we have today? A little patience goes a long way.
Things to watch for: Terms such as “dropout factories”, “lemon dance”, New York’s “Rubber Room” and “track systems”.
Who should see this movie: Everyone concerned for the future of our country and children.
See it in the Theater or Rent it on DVD: If you miss it in the theater, this is a definite must rent.