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waiting for superman

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Day 1:
Claims:
1.) The schools in America are failing.
2.) If we don’t start working to improving them now, they will just continue on in this downward spiral.
Grounds: In Alabama 18% of 8th graders are proficient in math, 14% in Mississippi, 40% in New Jersey, 35% in Connecticut, 40% in New York, 26% in Arizona, and 24% in California. These statistics further prove the claim that many schools in America are doing well below average work in teaching and preparing students to get jobs and be well educated citizens. Sometimes it isn’t the parent’s choice to send their son or daughter to these failing schools. Why should they be even more penalized, especially penalizing a young child? Some of the parents are very involved and it’s the teachers who are not doing well and making the learning environment nonexistent. We now have really good, time-tested knowledge of what works in education. We know that good teachers accelerate student learning and poor ones significantly impede it. Parent engagement makes an enormous difference. And with every step down the economic scale, good teachers and parent engagement matters more. We’ve also learned that this knowledge has seldom affected the assignment of teachers, whose own preferences and protective work rules lead them to the schools whose students need them least – but whose political clout is greatest. Failing schools don’t usually attract the best teachers. And the system doesn’t place them there. Skip to next paragraphWe’ve learned that, for teachers, greater experience and more college credits are a weak indicator of teacher quality measured by the all-important question of a teacher’s consistent ability in improving her student’s learning. For school leaders – principals and superintendents – experience does matter. More experienced leaders tend to be better at their jobs. Most important, we have learned – and are still learning – just how important leadership is to the whole reform effort. We know that strong state accountability systems elevate achievement. We know that certain computer-assisted instructional programs abet learning to read in a highly cost-effective way. We know that other kinds of spending are not cost-effective in boosting student achievement: Teacher aides and additional ed-school credits. We know that small class size in primary school may assist learning, but that there is no magic number for smallness. We know that that class size appears to matter less or not at all at the upper grades.
The exigence of this work is a parent and film direct saw an unjust system and wanted to delve deeper and find out more about just how bad things really were. To know that some children got the chance to go to a private school may have been his motive, he wanted to know why. I was shocked at how terrible things were. Some of the statistics and percents but it is very scary to think about.

Day 2:
There is discernible public impatience with educational stagnation. Voters and parents are demanding results. Polling shows much higher support than ever before for competitive or market-oriented reform measures such as charter schools and performance pay. Increasing numbers of our most able college graduates exhibit interests in teaching, especially when they can bypass education schools and enter programs such as Teach for America. And the media exhibit a growing interest in exposing and publicizing unproductive education labor practices. Political pundits proclaim that policies have become overly partisan – but this is not true when it comes to education reform. All stripes of politicians have long been singing a single melody, and the coalition is getting broader. A recent study praises Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, who have long led other states when it comes to education reform. Now, other states, including "blue" ones, are following. Director Guggenheim reminds us that “statistics” have names: Francisco, Emily, Anthony, Bianca, and Daisy—they are the film’s emotional pull. The children and their parents share their hopes and anxieties. “I want to go to college and get an education, because, if I have kids, I don’t want my kids to live in this environment,” 12-year-old Anthony reveals in a confessional recording, “I want to go to school.” By the end of the film, viewers are engrossed and emotionally invested in the lives of the families as they strive for a better future for their children. Geoffrey Canada, CEO and President of Harlem Children’s Zone, was ambitious after graduating from Bowdoin College in 1974 and heading to Harvard Graduate School of Education. “I figured that it was going to take me two and a half or three years, if I was on my A-game,” Canada recalls comically, “to straighten out education…in the nation.” Radical education reformist Michelle Rhee’s scorch the earth debate for DC’s public school system was not well received by her constituents. “If you want to quickly become the most unpopular person in a city close down one school let alone twenty-three,” Rhee says in the documentary. Both Canada and Rhee note that they were met by conflicting regulations and mixed agendas from local, state and federal governments as they worked to change American public education. Filmmaker Guggenheim labels dysfunctional high schools as “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes”. In the movie, Guggenheim’s exhausting review of public education cites: among 30 developed countries, the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science. Eight years after Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act, with the goal of 100 percent proficiency in math and reading, most states hovered between 20 and 30 percent proficiency, and 70 percent of eighth graders could not read at grade level. By 2020, only an estimated 50 million Americans will be qualified to fill 123 million highly skilled, highly paid jobs. These alarming reports led to controversial fact-checking and national concern and talk about the US public school system. Now the question is, What and Who are We Waiting for? Waiting for “Superman” almost vilifies teachers unions for promoting tenures and the US public school system for being outdated. Should we use Rhee’s idea and scorch the earth of teachers unions, or should we strive to amend and remove some legislation for more comprehensible public school policies and standards that transcend from federal government to local school boards? Something has to be done, but what we should not be doing is waiting. In order to handle this problem, we have to first acknowledge that there is a problem. Whether or not you believe the reported statistics, you must accept the fact that Horace Mann’s mantra, “Education is the great equalizer,” is now longer applicable. Studies have shown, other than the one cited in Waiting for “Superman“, that low-income disadvantaged students are not as prepared for college as their affluent peers. Students who attend public school in the United States are not only at a national disadvantage in regards to college admissions and the job market, but they are also at a global disadvantage in growing fields such as technology and engineering. Major corporations such as Microsoft and Apple are seeking international applicants, because there simply are not enough qualified native applicants.

Day 3: The American public school system is in crisis, failing millions of students, producing as many drop-outs as graduates, and threatening our economic future. By 2020, the United States will have 123 million high-skill jobs to fill—and fewer than 50 million Americans qualified to fill them.
Educators, parents, political leaders, business people, and concerned citizens are determined to save our educational system. Waiting for "Superman" offers powerful insights from some of those at the leading edge of educational innovation, including:
Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation’s groundbreaking work reshapes how schools select, train, support, and reward teachers
Geoffrey Canada, leader of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which is demonstrating that kids from even the most challenging backgrounds can learn
Michelle Rhee, the remarkable chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools, who is challenging tradition as she brings reform to a troubled system
Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, who is working to make her union a major force for change on behalf of students
Bill Strickland, founder of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, who explains how an effective school can bring hope to an entire depressed neighborhood
Eric Schwarz, creator of the Citizen Schools movement, who shows the vital role ordinary people are playing in transforming America’s schools
Jay Mathews, the nation’s leading education reporter, who recounts the lessons he’s learned about how excellent schools are really built
Eric Hanushek, renowned educational researcher, who has documented the impact that great teachers have on kids’ achievements
Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott, filmmakers who describe the emotional impact of following the children’s stories in their film
Waiting for "Superman" is an inspiring call for reform and includes special chapters that provide resources, ideas, and hands-on suggestions for improving the schools in your own community as well as throughout the nation.
For parents, teachers, and concerned citizens alike, Waiting for "Superman" is an essential guide to the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing America’s schools.

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