The movie “Waiting for Superman” premiers this week in select cities. I’m gravely disappointed that none of those cities are near me.
In short, it’s a movie about how badly we’re failing with our school system, and it’s being heralded as one of the greatest documentaries of all time.
Our schools are the incubators of the future, and right now they’re scarcely luke warm, and our nations education ratings are amongst the lowest of all developed countries (see the alarming stats here).
There are many compelling, astounding, and enraging stories in Waiting for Superman.
At the heart of this issue is one of the primary problems with our school systems… we cannot fire teachers who need to be fired, and we cannot promote or reward the teachers that deserve it.
One of these is the story of Michelle Rhee, a “warrior woman” (as Oprah Winfrey today called her), who is creating chaos in Washington by simply firing teachers that aren’t cutting it. But of course labor unions, in their “wisdom” are battling her, and preventing such radical changes.
Incentives, carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments, are such a fundamental element in any system that seeks to improve. What happens when you remove those elements? Stagnation. And that’s just what our educational scores are showing.
Waiting for Superman is bound to be a movie behind which people will rally. It touches upon a nerve, often a raw one, in our society. Education, which among other things, is killing creativity (here).
None of the answers are easy, but it’s time to explore them. It’s time for far more attention to be devoted to it.
You’ll be hearing much more from me on this topic in the near future.
In the meantime, the book “Waiting for Superman”, is now available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, IndieBound, Powells.com, and I just purchased a copy for the iPad on Apple’s iBooks.