Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting for Superman
I just began reading the participant guide to the film Waiting for Superman, a documentary written by Davis Guggenheim about the American public school system. The clip below gives some of Guggenheim's reasoning in writing this documentary:

In this participant guide, the author states, "Our public schools haven't improved markedly since the 1970s" (p. 15). This documentary is supposed to provide reasons why schools haven't improve since 1970. Guggenheim provides five stories of students and their families who have their names in a lottery to attend "the best schools". Why are we making the assumptions that those schools are the only ones with effective teachers? I think that effective teachers are everywhere. As a society we have come to an unbeknownist conclusion that depending on where the school is located determines the effectiveness of the teachers inside that building. Does that really make sense?

In a current Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll it showed that 77% of public school parents graded their neighborhood schools with As and Bs (p.13). The poll then goes on to ask, "How about the public schools in the nation as a whole?" Eighteen percent graded these schools with As and Bs (p. 14). Do these stats confuse anyone else?

Do schools need to make improvements? Yes. Are effective teachers only in private, higher socioeconomic schools? No. How many parents are going to be misled about where effective teachers teach? How many parents are going to wait for their child's name to be pulled from a lottery so their education can be saved?

What are your thoughts on effective teachers and school reform?

1 comment:

  1. Billie,

    This is probably one of the most interesting posts I have read on any blog. I've always been interested in effective teaching. However, the first question I always ask myself is, "What makes a teacher effective?" I believe that there is not a specific list of criteria, but instead that all effective teachers facilitate and increase their students' academic achievement. This to me has always been the number one goal of educators. How effective teachers attain this goal may vary greatly. Finally, I very much agree with you that effective teachers are all around us. We need to stop and highlight these teachers and talk about what aspects of their instruction make them effective. This would help others. Good post!

    Jarod Mozer