Waiting for “Superman”: A must-watch documentary

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary that digs deeper to explore the statistics of the American education system. He follows five children and their parents journey to do everything in their power to get them a better education.

It was incredibly hard to watch these kids and their parents, each so committed to getting a better education, not able to get anywhere, simply because of where they’re living. A few of these kids’ stories really got to me, and here is one  that got to me the most:

Daisy

Daisy lives in East Los Angeles and is in the 5th grade. She works hard and is determined to go to college. She already knows where she wants to go and has written to the college, asking that she be accepted. Her dream is to be a doctor, but Daisy is about to enter one of the worst performing schools in Los Angeles. In her neighborhood, 6 out of 10 students don’t graduate high school… Daisy’s parents do everything they can to support their daughter because they want her to defy the odds and graduate, but private school isn’t an option… but right down the street from their home is one of the best charter schools in Los Angeles: KIPP LA PREP… KIPP’s students rank among the best in Los Angeles and its demanding program will prepare Daisy for college in ways that her neighborhood public school cannot. But with 135 applicants for 10 spots, Daisy has a 14% chance of getting in. (excerpt from waitingforsuperman.com)

To get their children the best education they can, parents across the country are forced to go to these public-private schools where they can likely come out with the ability to go to college. The point they don’t really focus on here in the movie is the class sizes. It’s fairly obvious that kids from K-12 are going to succeed when there’s a class size of 10. Teachers can focus more on students and they can get that tailored learning experience; something not possible in the public system with ballooning class sizes.

One of the education reformers highlighted in the film was Michelle Rhee. She is the Chancellor for the D.C. school system, and has been since 2007. Her main goal has been to tear up the system, which was failing, by getting rid of the ineffective management at the top and funnel that money back to the schools. In the documentary it clearly shows she means business because she was facing many angry people who didn’t like the prospect of losing their jobs.

There is so much more I could go on about this movie, but I really feel it’s worth watching. It’ll stir all your emotions and put faces, young faces, to the education problem. I found the movie very engaging and got me wanting to learn more about Canada’s system and where it’s at. I give Waiting for “Superman” 5/5.

Advertisements

Status quo on sex education in Ontario

As of Thursday morning I’d planned on writing this post as an applause to the McGuinty government for revamping the sex education curriculum in schools; now not so much.

If you’re out of the loop, the planned curriculum called for sex education to begin in grade one, where kids would learn basics like body parts. As they got older they’d learn about sexual orientation and eventually other, more detailed sexually oriented topics.

I came home last night to find out the Ontario Liberals have decided to table the plan for the time being after receiving backlash from religious groups. Way to back down to pressure McGuinty! It’s a shame that they’ve passed up a real chance to teach kids something useful at a young age. I never would’ve imagined a government willing to do something like this; I guess it was too good to be true.

A funny thing about this is the Liberal flip flop has those applauding the original plan now grumbling in anger. According to the Globe (linked above), the whole curriculum change was under the radar until one person complained – that says most people were either okay or indifferent about the changes.

In addition to all this, a National Post blog post says those leading the charge against changes claim the new curriculum was “part of a larger political agenda to make homosexuality more acceptable to society and to influence young children to “practise” homosexuality.” These are the people influencing our government’s decisions.

What are your thoughts on the original plan to change the curriculum, and then the flip flop by the Ontario Liberals?

Rewriting Canada’s national anthem

There’s much discussion on the Internets, radio and TV about the Canadian Government taking a look into complaints about our national anthem. Yes, taxpayer money is being spent looking into and possibly changing our national anthem because of the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command”… okay well specifically the one word in that line – “sons“. They say it’s not inclusive enough to women – which on a certain level is true, but if we changed that, should we start making other changes? Maybe we should change the part where it says “God keep our land glorious and free!” because I’m sure a few people are offended by that – I don’t see that happening, though.

I’m not always the biggest supporter of nationalism, but Canadians just finished showing the world how we’re united and proud, singing our anthem at curling matches for goodness sake; what terrible optics this “debate” gives off.

Optics aside, we’re attempting to recover from one of the worst financial meltdowns ever, plus there are always those other pesky issues with poverty, health care or education that always demand attention and we’re focusing on verbiage in a song. Let’s move on and deal with things that actually matter.

Where do you stand on the national anthem debate?

For your added amusement (or pain) check out Classified’s version of Oh Canada. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming our national anthem – we can all agree on that, I’m sure:

%d bloggers like this: