On November 15, I invited teachers from around the county to send in their thoughts on Waiting for "Superman".
Thank you for writing and taking the time to share your ideas, comments, frustrations and opinions on the film. There is no doubt this is a heated issue. And you are all at the center of it. Trying to change our classrooms without involving teachers is like trying to bake a cake without an oven. Your voice must be a part of the discussion.
Below are some answers to a few of the same questions a lot of you had. But please keep the conversation going. I really do love hearing from you.
To ProfTK: Thanks for your question. I don't think charters are the answer. Charters can suffer from many of the same problems any district schools suffer from, and I note in the film that only 1 in 5 are doing better than average. I think there are some outstanding examples of charters that prove that it's possible to get amazing results in some of the toughest neighborhoods and I think we should learn from what they are doing. The message of Waiting for "Superman" should not be misconstrued as "pro" this or "anti" that. The message of the film is that we are failing too many kids and that you shouldn't have to "win" a chance at a great education in America. It's important to note that the families in my movie don't care what their schools are called -- district, magnet, charter, etc. They just want great schools!
Dear Shelz: Thank you so much for your question. I completely understand your frustration as a teacher. My first film, The First Year, was about the life and struggles of five teachers. I saw firsthand what you are talking about. After making that film, I promised myself that if I ever had the chance to make another film about public education, I'd talk about the "system" that makes it so hard on teachers like yourself. And that is what I tried to do. I don't agree with people who want to frame Waiting for "Superman" in a polarizing way. I believe we need to reward great teachers like yourself, make sure we have great principals and leaders to support you, and change the system to further support what you are doing for kids. I hope teachers, as well as parents, students and people who care about the children and direction of our country keep sending comments and thoughts and most importantly, taking action to help ensure every kid in America gets a great education.