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A Critique of the movie Waiting for Superman

Updated on June 16, 2016

Waiting for Superman

A few years ago I watched the movie Waiting for Superman. I heard about this movie through my child's school when I received a letter from the Superintendent of our school district. I do not remember exactly what the letter said but it was something to the effect of please do not let the movie alarm you. I was bummed out when I couldn't find the movie playing in any of my local theaters. Alas, I had to wait for the movie to get released on DVD so that I could watch it. I wasn't all that surprised by what I viewed in the movie. However, there were a few things that did catch my attention during the course of the movie.

Tracking occurs in schools usually beginning at the junior high level. However, some schools start tracking even earlier than middle school. Students are placed in classes according to their ability. The thing in Waiting for Superman that caught my attention was the attitude of the student affecting their place in the track. Some students are placed at a lower level because of their attitude. If this is true then the tracking that is done in schools all across America is biased. Students should only be placed into a certain track solely on the basis of their performance. Therefore, why is the attitude of the student even coming into play in this equation? Tracking is based upon ability, correct? I find this attitude component entering into the tracking equation interesting for many reasons.

The main reason why I find this attitude component interesting is because doesn't everyone have a bad day from time to time? YES! Even as adults people do have bad days. There are days when nothing seems to go right for us and we are not happy. How can attitude affect the courses that a student gets placed into while they are in school? I am having quite a difficult time understanding why this is happening in our schools. On top of that, why is this being allowed to happen? Where are the parents? Where are the child advocates? Aren't school counselors supposed to advocate for students? Are the school counselors doing their job? I do not know.

Another reason why I am having a difficult time with this attitude component in relation to tracking is due to the socioeconomic status of the students in question. Aren't richer kids normally happier than poorer kids, anyways? I believe that we need to see some leveling and some fair play in this educational arena. It is my belief that kids who are economically disadvantaged are also getting the shaft when it comes to their education. Let's just put the poor kids in the lower level classes because we all know they are going to end up in a low wage dead end job. Harsh! Yes, that is harsh but unfortunately that is occurring in our schools all across America.

Can we go as far as to say that our schools in the U.S. are in control of our workforce? It is the schools that are deciding how many kids go in the upper track and how many kids go in the lower track. So, aren't our schools deciding how many students will attend college and how many will enter the workforce right out of high school? Should we allow our schools to have this much authority over our children? These questions raise many issues that I feel should be addressed within the school systems of America.

Our schools are deciding which students will end up with high paying jobs and which students will end up with low paying jobs, right? People who attend college make more money than people who do not attend college. Having said that, aren't our schools deciding how much money each student will make over the course of their life by placing them into a particular track in the school system? It is my belief that we do give the schools in the U.S. too much authority over our children. It is the school system that is deciding which students will enter the highest paying jobs in our country.

What can we do to stop the regulation of our children by the schools in the U.S.? This question is a hard one to answer for several reasons. First of all, we have to convince educators that their way is no longer acceptable. There needs to be a drastic change in the make up of our school system in the U.S. So, what do we do? Fire all of the teachers, administrators, school employees, etc. We all know they are biased, correct? If we start over from scratch with the school personnel then we can change the system, right? I am no so sure that this would fix anything. Although, it does seem as if it may be a logical solution to the problem.


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