Waiting for Superman

Twice this past week, Oprah discussed the movie Waiting for Superman on her show.  Waiting for Superman, a documentary in theaters September 24, takes a look at broken U.S. school systems and what can be done to fix them.  On Monday Oprah talked to parents of children in broken school systems as well as administrators, including the Chancellor of Washington D.C. Schools.  On Friday’s follow up episode, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was on the show discussing the $100 million he donated to Newark NJ school district, a very under privileged school system.

This topic is very personal to me because I grew up in one of the many broken school districts.  I attended school in the first district in New York to be taken over by the state.  So, I know what it is to be looked at differently because of the school I went to.  I also knew that there were many students within just a few miles of me that were receiving a much better education than I was.

However, I graduated at the top of my class with an advanced regents diploma was able to compete with my students from around the country when I attended undergrad.  That is because education started at home for me.  I always knew the importance of education and although it was very easy to dismiss my education, like so many others around me, I made the best of the resources I was given while in school.

Obviously education is important to all of us because we are all furthering our education after receiving our Bachelor’s.  But, I want to know your thoughts on broken school systems around the country and what can be done to fix them.  I think one of the main issues lies in administration and teachers.  Too many times I have encountered teachers and others in charge who did not care about me or my education.  I think we need to get rid of those who do not care about our future generations (those who are in elementary – high school now).

Your thoughts?

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Zeenal Thakare says:

    Hi Alana – I have spent an entire day today at NBC’s Education Summit and one of the key focuses of the various panel discussions during the day was teacher evaluation and standards of education in public/charter schools. Hence, in spite of spending 16 hours at work I still feel charged to comment on this post 
    I strongly believe that teachers are not just a part of the education process but are also largely responsible for what students learn in class. A highly motivated teacher could bring the best out students in a class. Before I comment on the standards of education in public or charter schools, I would like to make it clear that I have not received primary education in the U.S. However, for the past few months I have been closely observing the state of education in the U.S. and from what I understand that while there are great teachers in this country, there are some who are not equally efficient or motivated. To improve the overall face of education, teachers with the right attitude and energy would make a huge difference. However, the success of education reform is not solely dependent on teachers. It is an amalgamation of a several components that need to come together, whether it is parental contribution, teachers’ efforts or political forces, we all need to join hands to work as a team. However, this brings me to a key point that was a part of the discussion at the Education Nation Summit, should teachers be evaluated on student’s performance? I personally believe that teachers’ evaluation, while necessary, shouldn’t be based on absolute performance of the students. It is obvious that having brighter students who perform better would mean better evaluation for a teacher. But what is more important is to compare the performance of students in a subject before they started classes and compare it to the outcome at the end of the class.
    What are your thoughts?

    1. Alana says:

      Zeenal, I totally agree with you.

      1. Alana says:

        Zeenal, I totally agree with you. However, with tenure and teachers unions, it makes it harder to rid of the teachers who may not be qualified.

        I do believe that performance at the beginning and end of the school year is great way to evaluate teachers.

  2. Cartoon Jon says:

    your totally right in saying that a big problem is in teachers for the lack of education. i’ve had some teachers that really don’t teach, in high school and college level. i can only image how bad it can be in other places around the world. i think this problem needs to be recognized global first before it can really be solved. i’d focus more on advertising the issue worldwide so that people see it and how it effects the world as a whole. in doing so, it might inspire the right people to step up for the role as a teacher for the future of your planet (hey i’m a cartoon)

  3. gabrielleslow says:

    I agree with you when you say we need to get ride of the teachers who just don’t care. It is hard to filter out and “get rid of” the teachers who for lack of better words, just don’t care or who over the years have become indifferent with the education system.

    But it is also hard for a school that does not have the needed funding for those good teachers and educators. Educations should be the most important things in this country. With proper education comes a bright future, maybe one day we will see things get better for the struggling schools.

    1. Alana says:

      I think all public schools should have the same amount of funding, no matter the district or where the school is located. If this is supposed to be “free” education, all public school students should have the same resources and opportunities.

  4. vdones says:

    Such a great post. My grandma was an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn for 30 years and during her time there, we all saw how she would go above and beyond to help her students. Then she would see others that clearly didn’t care if their students learned a thing! I totally believe that the tenure policys should be reevaulated and awarded based on performance at the very least, if not completely demolished.

  5. sasi says:

    I totally agree with you. In the south part of my country (Thailand) there are so many teachers were murder because of the war between the government and the four provinces that they want to be independence. That was so pitiful.

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