Waiting for Superman
Patricia and I have been pretty involved in our son’s high school. Admittedly, I’m not as deeply engaged as some. But enough to be very aware of the disaster we are wreaking on our children by neglecting the funding of education.
This past year has been the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Here in California, we are ranked dead last in the nation in spending per student. And the effects of this indifference are everywhere. LA Unified School District has had its budget cut by $640 million, and has been laying off people in droves. 6,300 of them at last count. Those cuts helped spark the battle this spring over out-of-district permits. (For a personal look at the parents’ effort from the inside, take a peek at this great blog: A Fire in My Mouth.)
Santa Monica attempted to compensate for some of the state’s further funding cuts by passing Measure A, a relatively small parcel tax — less than $200 a year — to try to make up some of the $10 million in lost annual revenue. It required a 66% vote. It got 64%. Now Santa Monica-Malibu School District has to fire teachers, increase class size and slash programs.
Waiting for Superman is a new documentary about what’s been happening and (I hope) about what to do to change it. Please take a look, tell your friends and get involved.
We are courting disaster. Our children rank 21st among developed countries in science. 25th in math. Our taxpayers rail against “waste” in our school districts. Our teachers’ unions make it impossible to fire lousy educators. Our priorities are royally messed up, and we are failing our children and our country’s future. There simply has to be a better way.
I saw the trailer for this a few weeks ago. Very, very powerful. I will certainly be going to see it.
Turns out my friend Scott’s son Derek worked on these trailers! He just sent me this. Thought I’d share.
“Here is another vignette on the film….just posted to iTunes:
It’s so exciting that people care about this issue so deeply. Maybe we can change things.
My cousin Joy sent me a link to another film, Madeleine Sackler’s The Lottery, along with this quote:
“In a country where 58% of African American 4th graders are functionally illiterate, The Lottery uncovers the failures of the traditional public school system and reveals that hundreds of thousands of parents attempt to flee the system every year. The Lottery follows four of these families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance for a better future.”
In response to Josh’s note about education and our children:
I read what you sent, and I agree with you more than you can know. I ache for your heartache about what is not being provided our young people in this country. I worry about their futures, your futures, my children’s and grandchildren’s futures – and on it goes. And here comes Texas with its textbook barbecue of history! Can it get any worse? Well now – it dang sure can! Do you remember, Josh, anything about our attempts to start that alternative school in Venice/Mar Vista in the early 70s? It was a not very good attempt to offer something other than the typical impoverished notion of an educational opportunity. Underfunding our educational systems WILL have us reap the wind -and it will be uglier than aftermath of “Katrina”. I already voted. Maybe I can vote again.