Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Film quotes on public education

Here are quotes taken from various documentaries focusing on public education...

“Waiting for Superman”
• “You wake up every morning and you know that kids are getting a crappy education right now ... Oh, I don’t think they are; I know they are.” -- Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the Washington, D.C., school system

• “Either the kids are getting stupider every year, or something is wrong in the education system.” -- Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone

• “Your children and future generations are on the bridge of that Titanic, and everyone is going to drown.” -- Davis Guggenheim, director of “Waiting for Superman”

“The Cartel”
• “It is a crime. It’s not terrorists that are going to destroy America. It’s urban public education if we don’t do something about it.” -- Joe Williams, Democrats for Education Reform

• “The teacher tells the parent, ‘Oh, this is a good school.’ When I said, ‘Lady, your kid can’t read or add two and two. What do you mean it is a good school?’” -- Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City

“The Lottery”

• “The problem is not the parents. The problem is not the children. The problem is a system that protects academic failure.” -- Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Charter Network (Harlem Success Academy)

“The War on Kids”
• “Kids need to feel safe, not only from other students, but they need to feel safe from the administration and from teachers. And often that’s not the case. Teachers are allowed to bully kids. Administrators are allowed to bully kids.” -- Olga Yatzus, child psychologist


Emerge Peoria said...

The quote I agree with the most, is the one from Waiting for Superman from Michelle Rhee. I remember feeling guilty every day I dropped my bright, ready to learn student off at school, knowing she was receiving a sub-par education.

Frustrated said...

I used to feel the same Emerge. Why did you feel it would be sub-par?

Emerge Peoria said...

I knew that children were being tracked and as a result only certain children had access to the best placements and teachers.

Sharon Crews said...

Hasn't Michelle Rhee been fired?

Sharon Crews said...

Add this to the list, also:

Frustrated said...

Well Sharon, as you might imagine, I like Michelle Rhee, although I would agree with the article that she seems to be a bit of a bull and could use more finesse in working with others. However, when I watched the week-long Education Nation on NBC, I found her refreshingly frank as compared to the other esteemed panel members. She was the only one that offered concrete suggestions for change. The others just spewed political jabber, trying to avoid taking a harsh stance on anything, for fear of alienating some group.

The article spoke of Rhee’s “anti-democratic approach to school reform.” In my opinion, all parties to the matter, should have input, but at the end of the day unpopular decisions must be made in order to create significant educational reform and that power, in the case of District 150, rests in the hands of the BOE and the Superintendent of Schools. If we wait around until everyone is pleased we will never move forward.

Frustrated said...

Emerge - I was not aware of the tracking that you describe but I also was not as involved and knowledgeable about such District matters when my kids were in Primary and MS, as you seem to be. That said, I am not exactly sure what you mean by tracking in this instance??

In Dr. Lathan's speech she discussed choice options and I was disappointed that she suggested the District's approach would continue to be compartmentalized based on where you reside in the city. I understood her to say if you were interested in the “visual arts program” which I assume is at Central or the IB program, which is at Richwoods , and you are a student at Manual you will be allowed to apply for the available seats??? That seems to imply that in the case of the IB program, if the IB program was at capacity based on students within the Richwoods attendance area, then the Manual student is out of luck, no matter how academically qualified he or she might be?? What kind of “choice” is that?

I also disagree with a “random process” for selection into Choice Programs. Such limited space offerings SHOULD discriminate based on conduct, attendance, and academic performance. What life lesson is that teaching? There should be basic criteria for admission that would vary depending on the program. For example, if a Vocational Ed program gets off the ground at Central, I would think reasonable criteria for the program would be a 2.0 grade average and a respectable attendance and conduct record. And if more students from Manual present themselves with these qualifications, for a program that happens to be housed at Central HS, well then let the chips fall where they may . . . more students from Manual than Central will be in the Vocational Ed program that year.

Sharon Crews said...

Frustrated, that's certainly the impression that I have--that students will be locked into programs based on geographic location. Therefore, choice isn't choice, at all. Of course, I am not that excited about choice--I think it's "code" for cherry picking. Sorry--that's just my opinion. You're right; we differ about Rhee--she seemed to pride herself in being a bully. I haven't read the details about why she was fired, but my guess is it's as simple as what goes around comes around.

Jon said...

Of course an education pundit, like Ravitch or Rhee herself for that matter, would conclude that Fenty's re-election bid was a referendum on Rhee - thus the primary reason he lost.

And, no, Rhee wasn't fired, though she and Fenty's successor, Vincent Gray, agreed that it would be best for Rhee to step aside. Gray has stated that he expects to continue the reforms initiated by Rhee with her successor and long time supporter, Kaya Henderson.


Sharon Crews said...

Jon, thanks for filling in my blanks--I hadn't investigated the Rhee situation (just remembered hearing something about her leaving). It still sounds like what so often happens as a gentler way of firing someone.