Almost 30 years after ‘A Nation at Risk,’ is the tide of mediocrity still rising? Does Washington have the solution?
John Merrow’s got a business model idea. It could be revolutionary…
With all the talk of innovation in education, wouldn’t it be best to simplify the discussion down to a few key points? John Merrow makes that attempt.
John wonders: is there one word that can describe the true role of a teacher?
What are the basic tenets of education? John takes a stab at four of them — and how a focus in that direction could be good for American education.
Note: I hesitated to review Waiting for Superman because of our dispute with Mr. Guggenheim about our PBS NewsHour footage, but that dispute was resolved (there’s no truth to the rumor that I threatened to picket the Hollywood opening in my skivvies). It’s an important film about education, a subject I have been reporting on for 35 years, and those two facts outweigh the other consideration.
There’s much to admire about Waiting for Superman, Davis Guggenheim’s new film about public education. He and his colleagues know how to tell a story, the graphics are sensational, and some of the characters—notably Geoff Canada—just jump off the screen.
And I hope it does well at the box office, because that would demonstrate that a significant number of us care enough about education to spend a few bucks to see a documentary about it.
That said, the film strikes me as a mishmash of contradictions and unsupportable generalizations, even half-truths. And while it may make for box office, its message is oversimplified to the point of being insulting.
I realize that I am swimming against the stream on this, given that the movie has been glowingly reviewed by Tom Friedman in the New York Times and others, but please hear me out.