On our way to school, a poster sign of a movie caught our attention.  I believe that the property owner whose house faces our school’s main entrance, on the opposite side of the road, put up the sign to make a mockery of the public schools.  


Stirring up controversy, “Waiting for Superman” is an intriguing documentary, which expresses the importance of good teachers in cultivating the young minds who shape our future, and at the same time talks about the failing school system in the US by following five families through their public school experiences.  This film delivers an emphatically powerful and upsetting message about the bureaucracies in our educational system, the teachers’ unions such as the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers.  These unions are a hinder to public school reforms, in addition to creating the ferociously labyrinthine union contract that cossets non-performing teachers and prohibits incompetent tenured teachers from getting fired for poor teaching performance.


I am not against teachers per se.  I have a few family members who are school teachers too.  I am only against non-performing teachers, teachers who don’t see educating kids a sacred mission.      


I am not against unions.  I do see some values of their existence in situations where the for-profit blood-sucking corporation might try to take advantage of its underprivileged blue collar workers.  However, I fail to see the purpose of its existence in a non-profit organization where educating the future generation is its utmost priority and mission.  What is the teachers’ unions protecting and fighting against? 


I have always wondered the purpose of a teacher union.  Students suffer when teachers go on strike.  Isn’t teaching a sacred job?  Why would teachers go on strike?  Why would someone pick teaching as a career?  Isn’t it out of one’s love and passion to cultivate the younger minds?  I know that teachers are not saints but they do have a sacred mission which is to educate the young minds.  When they put making money ahead of educating the kids, they are not fit to be teachers.  The following link is a story about the Danville High School students picketing across from striking teachers.  What the students wanted was to be able to go back to school and get the education they deserved, which was deprived by the teachers on strike.  The students simply wanted to be able to get the diplomas like their teachers, so that they get the chance to enter good colleges and get good jobs, which will prevent them from having to go on strike like their teachers.    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2010-09-15/danville-students-picket-across-striking-teachers.html


Many unionized teachers and teacher unions fulminate against the film for singling them out as the main cause of the failure in public school system.  However, criticism brings forth reforms.  Without criticism, there would be no improvement.  Rather than defaming the teaching profession, the film actually points out the problems which the unions create, the bottleneck which the unions have become, and the mediocre teaching performance which they promote, especially in high-poverty school districts.  This film hopes to heighten awareness to the problems and to stir up discussions.  Though I don’t necessarily agree that charter schools are the solution, I do see eye to eye on the detrimental effects of the unions to the educational system. 


It is sad to say that money talks.  You either have to afford buying a house located in a good school district or to be able to afford sending your kids to the private school.  Those charter schools, receiving some government funding with private funding as its major funding source, seem to offer a solution to students living in the worst neighborhoods.   


Students are the ones paying the price with the failing educational system, but ultimately, our society pays when it is flooded with illiterates.    


Written by Elisa English, 版權所有

On 11/10/2010 in Minneapolis. 

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