You can divide the education world into two camps. No, not democrat or republican. Not incrementalist or disrupter. Or even pro-union or pro-charter. The best way to know whether you are on the right side of school reform is determined by how you answer these two questions:
Do you dither?
Do you do?
Winston Churchill used the word "dithering" to describe his country's indecisiveness when it came to the looming Nazi threat. He was speaking to the carefully crafted but empty arguments from his countrymen which basically advocated doing nothing. The state of our public schools is also a serious threat and we too have a talented corp of ditherers. Just read the editorial pages of many newspapers and blogs and listen to those on the air. There are many experts who would rather make the issue more complicated, tangled and inspire the rest of us to inaction.
When I hear thoughtful criticism of Waiting For 'Superman' I am energized because I am seeing the movie work -- I realize it's only 90 minutes and it can't answer every question -- but I know that these kinds of questions and conversations are exactly what we need. More of us at the table determined to fix our schools.
But those conversations must lead to action. Not more voices that defend a broken system just to stick to the status quo.
So it's time to "do" -- go see the movie if you haven't. If you have, go on WaitingForSuperman.com and learn about your local school, find opportunities to get involved on the ground and contact your governor and local school board to demand real reform.
But don't dither.