Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finally watched "Waiting for Superman"

and if you want to know what I think, indulge me and read first about the honor the International School of Monterey received last week.
The charter school was named "Ocean Guardian School" School and received a banner for its commitment to ocean stewardship by Rep. Sam Farr and NOAA. The school has shown a commitment to protecting the world's oceans by integrating the Ocean Literacy Principles into all grades, participating in restoration activities at a local beach dune, and developing “Captain Conservation,” a superhero who protects the ocean.
Funds for the project were provided by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ California Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. To receive funds, a school makes a commitment to be an ‘Ocean Guardian’ by proposing a school- or community-based conservation project. After successful implementation, the school receives a banner designating it as an Ocean Guardian School.

And from Captain Conservation we joyfully leap to "Waiting for Superman." What can I say? It's extremely touching and heart wrenching -- emotionally manipulating? I found myself wondering why it was that, except for the middle school girl in Northern California, all the children featured in the movie were of color -- blacks and Latinos. Why is it that, willingly or not, we continue to portray minorities as the victims -- resilient and valiant, but victims nonetheless? And even though the filmmakers want to encourage people to get involved, it's also obvious that they believe charter schools are the solution. Are they? Hmmmmmm. Financial troubles and not-so-stellar test scores may say otherwise, as pointed out by colleague John Fensterwald and his astute readers.

Like one of my teachers used to say, for complex problems, there should not be silver-bullet solutions. And for the complex issues facing education in this country, charter schools can't -- and perhaps shouldn't -- be the silver bullet. They have their place and their use, but I can't imagine them being the end-all. Can you?

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