"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Daily Life, 88

Our Principal arranged for us to be able to watch an early showing of the new documentary, "Waiting for Superman".  

Discussions in the media have already been underway, with some holding that this movie will be provocative enough to cause systemic change, once it's taken hold of the general public.

I'm not so sure.   Not because there weren't good points:  there were.  It's true, the educational system in our country is a bureaucratic behemoth: cranky, ill-suited to serve the needs of most of our children.

It's also true that giving  our children the best that we possibly can give them is vital to their wellbeing--and to ours.

But those are facts that are already well-established.....and that's what I think this movie does: it simply presents the impact of those realities, as evidenced in the lives of several individual children.

It's true, there was some emotion-yanking going down.  It's also true that there was a sustained, underlying diatribe against teacher unions---neither of which is actually helpful in forwarding a discussion which should have an intense focus on solutions.

As to that, there were also some solutions proposed....arising from interviews and a bit of data  on individual schools and on systemic school programs*  where the emphasis is on individual responsibility for learning. 

What were the core ideas?  
    --Responsibility, for everyone in the process.
    --Holding everyone (adults as well as children) to high standards.
    --Expecting all children--regardless of socio-economic backgrounds--to be successful academically. 
    --Allocating sufficient resources in terms of time, funds and staffing--to accomplish the goals.

Not surprising nor new ideas.   But good ones, nonetheless.   Is it a movie worth seeing?  Probably, if you're someone who's interested in education.   Just don't expect miracles.

Those are what happen on a daily basis in many classrooms across the country, despite the system.

*One of the school programs I found intriguing was the KIP school system.  KIP stands for Knowledge Is Power.    I'll check it out and post about it at some point soon.

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