Wednesday, October, 27, 10

Waiting for Superman

Filed under: cinema — theradishpress @ 12:35 pm

by theradishpress

Sadiqeh and I went and saw Waiting for Superman last night. It is a documentary about the failure of the US school system and the catastrophic effects on children. A point countered and proved wrong in the documentary is the misconception and perpetuated lie that under-privileged children cannot learn. It seems so obvious that just because someone is poor or African-American or Latino or female that that does not mean they are less able to learn. And yet, I say that knowing that so much of this society’s culture is rooted deeply in racism, sexism, and every other ism there is. Watching children and their families fight for them to receive a quality education is devastating. It also reminded me of how hard my parents worked to keep us in a neighborhood that was way too expensive so that we could go to good schools.

Hearing Nakia talk about doing anything to ensure her daughter goes to college, even if it meant working multiple jobs to pay her daughter’s grammar school tuition, took me back to my own family’s struggles. My father fought for years to find work. My mother drove over an hour each way, falling asleep behind the wheel, and extended family helped us. Why? So that we could go to good schools and go to college. And we are not first generation college students, we are second generation. But that does not make getting there any less of a success. And it is also important to note that this is not a “we did it with no help” story. Those stories are lies. Those stories are why, as stated in the documentary, kids in this country rank highest in confidence. We retell lies about success.

I was struck by the determination of these children and the desire. There is something really wrong with a system that does not provide the means to be educated to children. There is something wrong when the decisions being made hinder learning. There is something wrong when children have to rely on chance to learn what are considered basic skills.

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