Education in America: in need of rescuing

By Chelbi Mims
January 17, 2011

Coming from a magnet school in a nice suburb that was greatly funded by the city government, I knew nothing about the failing public school system until watching the documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

I did not know many students go through the school system and graduate high school with a 7th grade reading level.

I did not know that many teachers do not care about the progress of their students because they will get paid whether students pass or fail.

I did not know that only 55 percent of students in America graduate high school.

The movie documented the lives of five students all from different races and different states. Their parents strived to get them the best education possible but when it comes to a humiliating lottery system, picking of schools, the cost of private schools and the commute to a good school is a strain on the entire family.

Many of the parents goal in life is to see their children go to school and succeed but that rarely happens because of the school system.

The poster for “Waiting for Superman” sets the scene. Bright hopeful students stuck in the desolate education system. Teachers looking just to get paid are creating a handicapped youth. -- MCT --

The movie scanned a map of the U.S., which showed the reading and math levels across the country, all below average. Washington D.C., the capital of the U.S., has the worst graduate rate and the worst math and reading level. In the city where senators, members of the house and the president work and reside, it doesn’t make sense that children cannot get a decent education.

The movie was directing the problem with education on teachers. They said that many teachers receive tenure after two years and stop caring.

These teachers are protected from losing their job so they don’t care about the education of the students, how the teachers spend their time during school or how they treat students.

They call this the lemon dance, there are some teachers that the school doesn’t want but they are fired so these teachers go from school to school to school every year.

The movie also narrowed in on Michelle Rhee’s fight to change rules for unions and tenure. Rhee told a story of trying to end the tenor of teachers and being bashed. She told the teachers she would raise their pay if they voted to end tenor. She was out-voted and ostrasized.

The teachers union is portrayed as the villain in the movie because they have become too complacent and are not thinking about the next generation.

After watching this movie people may either feel depressed or it could provoke people to do something to change this epidemic.

The failing education system is a huge problem for America and the fact that this is not a well-known issue is a problem for not only our generation but also many generations after us.

This widespread problem is dragging America into a technology, job opportunity and complete global opposition predicament that we may never be gone if people do not do something about it.

The Wolfington Center has programs such as Teen Motivators and connections with an organization called The First Suburbs to help students and changed education reform.

These organizations and clubs need to be better known on campus because at the end of the day it comes down to the kids that are suffering. Not only are the school system failing students but their environment is also failing them.

Their parents work three and four jobs  to support them so they take care for themselves and crime is horrid on the streets. This is why dropping out is such an easy answer for many students.

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Chelbi Mims

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