WAITING FOR SUPERMAN (2010)

TMG Scale 10.0
Starring “The real world truth about public schools”

On any given day or night, TMG would generally rather spend two hours with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne or watching Hunt for Red October my 127th time. But, there are exceptions. I was invited to a pre-screening at Kansas City’s AMC’s urban Main Street Cinema. The audience was heavily minority with  many high school aged kids and political leaders. A normally charged atmosphere in the largely sad world of Kansas City politics and one of the worst public school districts in history.

What I experienced was meaningful and inspirational.  The 16 year old black girl sitting next to me and I had the same reaction to this film.  We did not talk,  but I could tell that her shock, embarrassment and dismay met equally with mine. Like many in the audience, she was a survivor of the public schools.

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows the lives of five children and their parents trying desperately to get their kids out of the public school “drop out factories” and into charter schools.  He factually and fairly documents the pathetic results of public schools in all too many urban areas.  If the film had any flaws, it was that it failed to recognize areas like suburban Overland Park, Kansas and similar areas where public schools do exceptional jobs with roughly the same money and resources.  Equally ironic is that the five kids featured are the few that will succeed despite the flawed public schools. This is because they have parents who truly care and take the time, which is by far the main ingredient in a child’s success in school. The most Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore’s 2006  fantasy film also directed by Guggenheim which totally lacks factual or scientific basis) in America is the failing public school system.  Catholic and other private schools do 1000% better with much less money per student. And people still oppose vouchers?  Go figure.

The screening was sponsored by the KIPP schools—a private enterprise featured in the film as a successful alternative charter model to public schools. Right on KIPP!

Lack of uniform dress code and lack of the ability to instill meaningful discipline in schools clearly demonstrated as a key culprit.  Tenure for lousy teachers and teachers unions are  demonstrably  the main villains.  Money is clearly not the issue or an issue at all.

TMG takes some exception to the films baseless shots at local control of education. TMG believes education should  be locally controlled even if that results in some perceived unfairness or inequality.  No one has ever demonstrated one cent of value or difference the United States Department of Education has ever made on children. The next Congress should abolish the Department of Education. We can use the money saved on better playgrounds or high school film classes.

Spending per student in many public school systems is beyond the level of sinful, even for an atheist. The State of Missouri threw over one billion dollars down the drain in Kansas City Missouri public schools and just made the situation worse. The far left liberal elite educators and politicians insatiable appetite for more money works as well as feeding more blood to zombies.

Despite some minor issues TMG has with Guggenhiem, he correctly concludes that maintaining the wasteland of public schools is more about the interests of the adults, not the best interest of the children. He is so right.  Every school, college, school board and parent in America should see this film. Debate the causes  if you will, but the message is right on. If it only provokes people to respond, it will do some good. I sensed everyone in the room left committed to do better.

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