October 15, 2010
Many students already have a hero in the classroom
The new film “Waiting for ‘Superman'”, which opens in theaters nationwide this week, tells a powerful story about how the public education system isn’t meeting the needs of parents and students. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell the whole story, and the film maker doesn’t offer real solutions.
The core message of the film is that that all public school teachers are bad, that charter schools are the only solution, and that the blame for failing schools lies with teachers’ unions – an incomplete and inaccurate account of the challenges facing public education, says the American Federation of Teachers:
[The filmmakers] do a disservice to the millions of good teachers in our schools who work their hearts out every day. The film relies on a few highly sensational and isolated examples in an attempt to paint all public school teachers as bad. Had the filmmaker visited some good public schools, he would have found that no good teacher supports tolerating bad teachers who are failing in the classroom.
But “Waiting for ‘Superman'” doesn’t show many of the great public schools across the country where AFT members work. And it makes no mention of many productive labor-management efforts that have turned the collective bargaining process into a powerful tool to improve schools. And it ignores the work of local unions across the nation, supported by the AFT Innovation Fund, to take the lead in improving teaching and learning.
The AFT is not waiting for ‘Superman’. Before you see the film, we encourage you to check out their website: http://www.aft.org/notwaiting/.