Wednesday, October 6, 2010

'Waiting for Superman'

I haven't yet seen "Waiting for Superman," the new documentary about education reform, but what I've heard so far about it makes me skeptical.

Full disclosure: I do editorial work for a group of education scholars who bring both rigorous scholarship and progressive values to the subject of school reform. I happen to believe that their scholarship is far more soundly based than the work of most of the loudest voices in the school reform debates, but my relationship with them arguably makes me biased. For that reason, I don't often directly engage education myself, here or in my day-to-day writing.

But I was heartened to see this rebuttal to the memes that appear to be embedded in the "Superman" movie.

I do not think that public schools are free of problems. But I detest the way the discussion over making them better has become so bound up with failed, market-based ideologies while ignoring the complexity of the problem and the multiple contexts of class, poverty, cultural divides and political dysfunction in which those schools operate.

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