Stung by a spate of recent documentaries on public schools, the education establishment is trying to rebut the filmmakers’ charges. “Nowhere does the film offer evidence that attending a charter school actually will raise the achievement levels of students highlighted in the movie,” National Education Association president John Wilson said after an advance viewing of Waiting for “Superman.” “Is it possible these students were getting a good education in the public schools they attended?”
Wilson made his comments to writer Del Stover in an article which appeared in American School. American School is published by the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
Accuracy in Media’s Allie Duzett reviewed “Superman,” which was produced by the same auteur who gave us “An Inconvenient Truth.” Perhaps as a result of director Davis Guggenheim’s progressive pedigree, more establishment audiences may have actually seen “Superman” than have viewed previous exposes of public schools, although he has done an earlier expose of government education.
At a recent standing-room-only meeting at the Center for American Progress (CAP), President Obama’s favorite think tank, Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond got instant recognition when she said, “I’m sure all of us have seen Waiting for ‘Superman.’” The CAP audience included executives from the Washington, D. C. public school system.
“Though we hate to admit it, schools have too many students who fall through the cracks,” NSBA executive director Anne Bryant told Stover. “But in a system that serves close to 50 million students, it also is important to note the many who go on to college and fulfilling lives.”
“America can’t afford to have about one-third of its fourth graders reading below grade level or lagging behind many other industrialized nations in science and mathematics,” Nora Carr writes in that same issue of American Schools. “The U. S. already loses more than $3.7 billion annually to remedial classes, increased use of social services, lower wages, and reduced tax receipts when high school graduates aren’t prepared for the rigors of college and don’t complete a postsecondary degree, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.”
Carr serves as chief of staff for North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.