October 8, 2010, - 3:03 pm
At the end of “Waiting for Superman,” we watch several inner city families (and one suburban one) attending lotteries held to determine whether or not their kids will get to go to a few successful charter schools, where education is leaps and bounds above that of public schools and most kids attend and graduate from college. The odds are slim because many kids have applied for only a very few slots. Parents are crying and destroyed because their kids mostly didn’t win the coveted slots, and now, their kids’ futures are over (in their minds).
Here’s a tip: if your kid’s whole future depends on winning the lottery, you’re incompetent–a bad parent and you made the wrong choices that got you to this point. You brought your kid to this brink, NOT the public schools. You didn’t teach them at home and you made the wrong choices even before that. Sadly, that’s not the point of “Waiting” at all, but it should have been. Nope, the point is that it’s our fault. It’s everyone’s fault but the parents. And that’s absurd. But it’s chic to do that in our take-no-personal-responsibility culture.
You may have been subject to some of the excessive hype about this “documentary” gushed over by ignorant liberals (including Oprah) and directed by Davis Guggenheim (a/k/a Mr. Elisabeth Shue), the man who made another fake documentary, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and the Barack Obama film Democrats saw at their national nominating convention in 2008.
Don’t believe the hype. This movie contained no new information–not to me, not to you. And that’s why I had to laugh at a Detroit screening, this week, of “Waiting for Superman.” The gasping, shocked–shocked!–liberals couldn’t believe how bad America’s public schools are. That’s news? That some–yes, only some–charter schools are better, isn’t news either. It’s like people who see this movie are just discovering America . . . and ‘lectricity and sliced bread.
And, yes, what also isn’t news–and was completely omitted from the entire movie is that a big part of the problem with public schools in urban settings is single mother households, kids with no dads, and horrible parents often even when there is a dad. All of these things breed problem students with lackluster intelligence, coping skills, behavior, discipline, and other basic requirements of human behavior conducive to learning. I guess that was “An Inconvenient Truth” for Guggenheim.
Sorry, but many kids in the inner city aren’t learning because their parents don’t encourage them to. Their “parents” may not even be in their lives, or they may be there but on welfare or doing drugs or engaged in crime. But that’s not the well-massaged, pretty picture Guggenheim showed us. Almost every kid in this movie had a mom and a dad, and they were all great kids who were absolute geniuses and not at all behavioral problems. Do you really believe this is exemplary of most kids in the inner city, where it’s not just the schools that are failing the kids, but the kids and their parents who are failing the schools? Only if you are a moron. And that’s how I’d describe anyone who buys into this movie.
The movie points out that, in the early 1970s, American kids began falling behind kids from other countries in reading and math. Hey, guess what happened just before that, which the movie never mentions? The sexual revolution, where women slept around and no longer required any commitment from men before sex. (It also included an increase in the use of illegal drugs.) That brought us to the ’70s in which divorces skyrocketed and the trend of kids being born out of wedlock also began to trend up. Hmmm . . . why isn’t any of this mentioned? Sorry, but we know this has a lot to do with kids not achieving academically. Study after study shows that kids don’t do as well in school and are more likely to be troublemakers and/or drop out without a dad in their lives. That’s in addition to the fact that kids without a dad are more likely to have sex and kids at an early age, use drugs, and commit crimes. All of these things contribute to disruptions, disciplinary problems, and failure by kids in an academic setting.
None of this is mentioned in the movie, though. Because liberals don’t want to make a negative pronouncement on the awful lifestyle they brought upon America. They don’t want to take the blame for the consequences they–in no small part–caused.
The movie goes out of its way to avoid putting any responsibility on urban “families” and their deviant lifestyles–which are now the norm, since deviance has been defined down–for the sad state of American kids’ intellectual capabilities and levels of knowledge. That would be “racism,” and we can’t dare call out Black America (and, now, a significant portion of White America, including Bristol Palin) for sleeping around, fathering and giving birth to kids, and putting them in this environment. But that’s a huge part of the problem. Many of these kids will never have the IQ required to become doctors and scientists and engineers, whether it’s because their parents did drugs and/or didn’t get proper neo-natal care and vitamins when they were conceived and/or in the womb, or because they just don’t have it. And, adding to that, many of these kids have parents–and a hip-hop culture–which encourage them to disrespect authority, including teachers, and have zero appreciation for basic math and reading skills. That’s not the fault of public schools or teachers. But it’s the problem with which they are faced.
The movie focused on only one kid with a single mother, and only one kid raised by his grandmother. The rest of the children featured had two parents at home in their lives. That’s just not how it is in our public schools, especially in urban settings where the biggest failures in the public school system reign supreme. Not even close. And that makes the movie entirely inaccurate.
The one grandmother who was raising a boy in Washington, DC, spoke of her son (the boy’s father) who died after a life as a drug addict. She says that he dropped out of school at 12, and “just did his thing.” Um, where the heck was she, when the father of this boy dropped out at 12 and “just did his thing?” Is that America’s fault? Or her fault? With no dad in his life and knowing his dad didn’t care and died young as a drug addict, the kid is less likely to do well academically. And no teacher or public school is responsible for that, nor can they easily overcome these factors.
Sorry, but the grandmother is responsible for this situation. She says she doesn’t know where the boy’s mother is and that the mother has had other kids with different men. Hmmm . . . doesn’t that absentee womb donor bear any responsibility here? With circumstances like this, can we really blame schools for the academic underachievement of kids from broken homes? While this kid is shown to be a good kid and interested in learning, most kids from that type of background exhibit behavioral problems extraordinaire.
The one single mother in the movie is shown to be extremely concerned about her child’s education, working hard to pay for her to go to Catholic school, and insisting that she will go to college, no matter what. Let’s be honest. Is this really what the average Black single mother in urban America is like? Absolutely not. If it were, things would be much different. And if this single mother had made better choices (like not having sex and having a kid out of wedlock), she wouldn’t be in this position, or maybe she’d have a husband who could help pay to keep her daughter in private school.
Yes, intractable teachers’ unions standing firm on tenure and the inability to fire bad teachers is a big problem–and if you watch this movie, that’s the ONLY problem. But there are plenty of good teachers who just cannot teach these incompetent kids with even more incompetent “parents,” who are nothing more than baby-producing womb and sperm donors, who’ve helped significantly in fostering the awful environment in which the public schools find themselves. A Black Detroit public school teacher I know is an excellent teacher, but his rhetorical question is, “How can I teach kids whose fathers–if they exist–won’t come to conferences and who have tattoos saying, ‘F-CK YOU,’ in big letters on their necks? These kids don’t want to learn because their parents don’t care or worse.”
Writing about (and predictably drooling over) the movie, today, is an extremely liberal columnist for a major Detroit newspaper (whose name won’t be mentioned here, lest I elevate this irrelevant ignoramus). If you’ve ever struggled to read her inane, racist, stupid, anti-Israel columns, you know she got her job through affirmative action. And, hey, she’s one of these single mothers I’m talking about who are part of the problem. Based on her columns, she’s not a smart woman to begin with, so her kid–likely inheriting her “intellect”–won’t be much more so. But then she compounded it by having a kid with no man in her life. Are teachers responsible for that? No, but that’s probably why she loves this fraudulent “documentary.” It lets people like her shirk their responsibility and put the whole blame on teachers’ unions and bad teachers, even though people like her are the liberals who enabled the liberal teachers’ unions and they come together on most politics. Hey, let’s blame all the public school problems on the Jewish white chick who heads the American Federation of Teachers. Easy bete noir.
And then there are some other falsities and convenient half truths in the movie. The movie makes it seem as if charter schools are the answer. In fact, many charters schools are failures. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like public school money from tax coffers funding Islamic charter schools parading as “Arabic” ones or Afro-centric charter schools run by the Nation of Islam in Detroit and Milwaukee. Do you? Think their test scores and college acceptance rates are as high as Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Success Academy or the KIPP Academies, featured in the movie? Think again.
The KIPP Academies–a chain of charter schools which are all over the country–teach kids facts and information through rap songs. Is that really the king of “learning” that lasts? Is rap music and the hip-hop lifestyle how you want American kids to be “educated”? Only if you have no problem with America’s further decline and dumbing down. And wasn’t that what these schools were supposed to be combating?
The movie says that kids in Finland do better than kids in America because they have a charter school-like setting. Well, while there’s a high rate of out-of-wedlock childbirth in Finland (as in many Scandinavian countries), how many of the cities in Finland have the problems and lack of parenting that urban American cities have? Only the ones with a growing population of Arab Muslim immigrants.
Geoffrey Canada (an audio separated-at-birth sound-alike to Denzel Washington) brags that his charter school, Harlem Success, has a nearly 100% college acceptance rate and almost as high a rate for those accepted to college graduating and getting jobs–higher, he and the movie’s narrator gloat, than the rates for White American students in the suburbs. But almost all of those kids are Black. While many are smart and no doubt achieved their place, there is still rampant affirmative action in America in admissions and even in special classes for minorities, as was the case when I was a student at the University of Michigan. If they ever get rid of affirmative action, then we’ll know if these kids really placed ahead, at the same rate, or, even, below.
Today, though, college is like high school used to be. It doesn’t mean anything, other than that you can have a good time going to frat parties and keggers and study courses like “The Life & Times of Madonna & Lourdes.” It doesn’t mean you’re smart or that you’ll be a success, contrary to the pronouncements in this movie. Just ask any of the many unemployed college grads living at home with their parents and struggling to find a job and pay back loans.
Not everyone is going to achieve at the same academic level, nor should they. Some people have a top-notch intellect, others have very studious and persistent hard work habits in school. Others have neither of these, and they won’t achieve. Not everyone can be at the top, or that would be just “average.” IQ is something inherent through birth and nurturing by parents and environment. It can’t be “taught.” You either have a high one or you don’t.
And not everyone in America can or should be doctors and lawyers. We have plenty. Some people need to be plumbers and cab drivers. Some need to be small business owners. One of America’s problems is that everyone wants to be the professionals, and now America doesn’t produce anything.
Another myth, furthered by Bill Gates’ appearance in the movie, is that American software companies, including Oracle (which was specifically cited), must import software developers and programmers because we don’t have enough educated and skilled Americans who can do the job. That’s the big business lobby excuse for importing cheaper labor from foreign countries. We have plenty of laid off programmers and developers who are collecting unemployment after they’ve been replaced by cheaper foreigners brought here or outsourcing to overseas labor. On this site, I’ve repeatedly detailed brazen law firms giving seminars to companies on how to do this, get around immigration and labor laws, and not get caught.
I found the long, drawn out scenes of the lotteries for the charter schools to be boring and unnecessary. Did I really need to see the whole lottery at each of 4-6 schools? As much as I needed to hear the sobbing of liberals in the audience crying when the kids didn’t get the slots and had to return to public school. And the much of the movie was just as repetitive . . . not to mention, preachy.
Posters for this movie say,
The fate of our country won’t be decided on a battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom.
Wrong. The fate of our country will be decided at home, beginning with whether to have sex, get pregnant, and have a kid out of wedlock. Then it goes on to whether the parents are together, married, sober, and clean. . . and what they teach their kids BEFORE those kids enter school. If the right things don’t happen there and then, it’s almost beyond reclamation.
Parents can teach their kids plenty–like how to behave, how to enjoy learning, and how to make the right decisions instead of making the wrong one and then depending on a bad-odds lottery. And parents can educate their kids, a process that should take place from birth and isn’t solely the job of parents and public schools.
Unfortunately, America isn’t told any of that in “Waiting for Superman.” Anyone “Waiting for Superman” to save their kids and not taking initiative his- or herself is incompetent and has no business raising kids.
FOUR MARXES PLUS AN OBAMA
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: American Federation of Teachers, An Inconvenient Truth, Bill Gates, Black, charter schools, David Guggenheim, Documentary, Education, Elisabeth Shue, Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Success Academy, Hip-Hop, Inner City, KIPP Academy, Movie Reviews, Oprah, public schools, Randi Weingarten, Rap, single mothers, teachers, tenure, unions, urban America, Waiting for Superman, White