What is the Answer to the School Crisis?

Even though my little girl is only eight months old I am already thinking about her schooling.  Am I going to put her in a private school, in the public school system or home-school her?  Living in Chicago and seeing the constant news reports about the crumbling public school system it makes me wonder how schools will be when my daughter finally does attend.  Will her teachers be qualified?  What will the classrooms be like? There are a million questions that go through my head and I wonder why isn’t anything being done about it now.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, so I want to teach eventually, but even doing my student teaching, I experienced the struggle that other teachers felt when trying to give their students a good classroom environment.  The materials needed were not there and this would cause students to lose interest and then their minds would begin to wonder off.  Try teaching 32 students about power point when only 10 computers are working.  Seems difficult right, but I had to make do. I really want to get back into the classroom, because I want these children to have a better experience than what they are having now.

The reason I am bring this up is that there are two documentaries out right now that I feel everyone with a child or that works in the school system needs to see: The Cartel and Waiting for Superman.  Both of these films deal with the school systems of the United States and give some insight on why schools are where they are. 

The Cartel, directed by Bob Bowdon, deals more with the money aspect of the school system.  Where is all the money going?  Who is really getting the money and is money really the answer?  Well, for the people that feel funding is the answer to help these schools their website states, “…. so the last few decades have brought an explosion of education spending, enthusiastically approved by local school boards and state legislatures and generally supported by taxpayers. That’s the moral cover under which our public school system wastes and steals billions of dollars every year.”  Does this money really go to the school, and if yes, where does it go to?  I don’t know if this film answers all these questions, but I do believe it will give us a better insight on what happens to the money.

Waiting for Superman comes from the director of An Inconvenient Truth, Dave Guggenhiem, and follows a few students as they go through the school system.  In his film “Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop—out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.” One of the things that stood out to me from the trailer was the lottery system that many parents depend on to get their children into a better school.  It’s kind of sad that a ping-pong ball with a number will determine who gets accepted and who doesn’t into a certain school.  Waiting for Superman is asking people to pledge to go see this movie.  When I last checked, Chicago only has 126 people that pledged.  I think this number needs to be higher and you owe it to yourselves and your children to go see this.

The Cartel played in Chicago for a few weeks and hopefully will return again so more people can see it.  If it is still playing in your city go see it and tell others about it.  Waiting for Superman will be out in the fall and I know I’ll go see it and take a few friends with me.  I really think that our education system needs to improve and teachers should be paid properly for what they do.  Think about it: if we don’t help our schools and our children, who will?

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