Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2011 / 27 Adar I, 5771

Inconvenient truth for teachers' unions

By Glenn Garvin



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I missed Sunday's Oscar telecast. I was too busy watching the dead-solid lock for the award for Best Documentary Film Not Even Nominated: the horrifying, heartbreaking education movie "Waiting for Superman."

At first glance, you might suppose that "Waiting for Superman" is the kind of movie that Oscar voters would love, a poster child for Hollywood liberalism. It follows the struggles of five kids — four of them from hard-luck inner-city neighborhoods — to get into decent schools. Daisy, an earnest fifth-grader in East Los Angeles who wants to be a doctor, has already written to her favorite colleges. Another fifth-grader, Anthony, is desperate to avoid the clutches of the Washington neighborhood where his father died of a drug overdose.

Francisco, a first-grader in the South Bronx, shyly admits that he likes math, no matter what the other kids in his trashed-out school think. Five-year-old Bianca couldn't attend her kindergarten graduation because her single mom was behind on tuition payments to her parochial school. And though the Silicon Valley suburb where the fifth kid — Emily, an, eighth-grader — is considerably less harrowing than the others, her forlorn attempts to escape a school where her poor test scores will track her into dead-end classes are nonetheless poignant.

What these children are trying to escape are schools where failure is literally a way of life. Daisy's plucky ambitions for medical school will have to overcome a cold statistical reality: Less than three out of every hundred students who graduate from her neighborhood high school have completed the courses necessary for admission to a four-year college. And if those numbers are discouraging, consider the statistics of a neighboring high school where 40,000 of 60,000 students who've entered over the years have flunked out. In one of the film's most chilling moments, "Waiting for Superman" displays an animated map showing the locations of thousands of such "failure factories" across the United States, poisoning their neighborhood like toxic waste dumps as they spit out broken kids.

That's the fate the families in "Waiting for Superman" are frantically seeking to avoid. Penned in by school boundaries, lost in bureaucratic quagmires that take little notice of aptitude and less of desire, all five kids in the end are reduced to bingo numbers: Their futures are staked on being picked in long-shot lotteries for the few spaces available in high-performing charter schools in their areas. But "Waiting for Superman" is a documentary, not a fairy tale, and the final scenes will make you cry. This is not what America is supposed to be about.

So why wasn't "Waiting for Superman" nominated for an Oscar as best documentary? The answer was plain during Sunday's ceremony, when several of the winners gave shout-outs to the belligerent public-employee unions laying siege to the capitol in Wisconsin. Hollywood, which ought to give itself a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for its dedication in portraying itself as a town of regular working Joes, is thoroughly unionized. And "Waiting for Superman" casts a hard eye on the role of teachers' unions in wrecking American schools.

It includes footage shot in New York City's notorious "rubber rooms," where hundreds of teachers accused of misconduct ranging from drunkenness on the job to sexual molestation of students lounge around playing cards or sleeping, on full salary, while union lawyers drag out their disciplinary hearings for years at a time. (The rooms, which became an embarrassment even to the union after the public got wind of them, have been closed since the movie was shot. The teachers now hang around their campuses instead.) It includes an interview with former Milwaukee school superintendant Howard Fuller, who was astonished to learn that he couldn't fire even a teacher who ducked a child's head in a dirty toilet bowl. It includes heinous statistics like this one: In a typical year in Illinois, one of every 57 doctors loses his medical license, one in every 97 lawyers is disbarred ... and just one in 2,500 teachers loses his license.

Right-wing union-busting, yeah? Except Davis Guggenheim, who wrote and directed "Waiting for Superman," is a left-wing Democrat who won an Oscar for the global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." He also made the biographical video of Barack Obama screened at the 2008 Democratic convention. "That was a difficult piece," he said of the teacher issue during a recent TV interview, "because I believe in unions — I'm a member of the Director's Guild. ... That's a difficult thing to sort of dissect that issue."

Too difficult for Oscar voters.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Glenn Garvin is a columnist for the Miami Herald

Previously:


07/10/10:Still looking to score
06/22/10: Ripe for fraud and abuse
05/25/10: Big Brother picks your pocket
11/04/09: Have conservatives scored a stealth prime time drama?
08/27/09: Left's been out for blood, too
08/13/09: What's not being celebrated
07/31/09: Pay-or-play means more lost jobs
07/16/09: OAS turns a blind eye to violations by left
07/02/09: Nothing so shocking about this coup
06/22/09: Libs' darling strikes out
06/03/09: Yes, America should read Sotomayor's speech in context
05/20/09: ‘Bloody’ mission goes awry
05/07/09: The problem is they aren't just goofin'
04/30/09: Why can't students say ‘guns’ in school?
04/08/09: When non-U.S. citizens vote
03/2e/09: Of course the AIG bonus boys — the ‘best and the brightest‘ — deserve their loot
03/12/09: No choice in Free Choice Act

© 2009, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles