Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dueling Movies--Or Not

There's been a big push at my school this year--someone (I've yet to find out who, but I only asked today) is advertising the heck out of a screening of the movie Race To Nowhere at our school. Here's what the movie's about, straight from its web site:

Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

Sounds like there's a definite slant to it, no? Since it's being shown at school, and part of the cost of each ticket sold goes to a school-related organization (PTSA), I think we ought to have a little balance. I recommend Waiting For Superman:

When disaster strikes in America, heroes rush in. We've seen it time and again: when all seems lost, real-life supermen (and women) step up to save the day. But what if, right now, there is a hidden catastrophe spreading quietly, insidiously through our nation's cities, towns and communities--and yet we have the power to stop it? What if our children and their futures--were in peril? Who will become a hero now?

From Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award-winning director of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, comes another stirring, must-see clarion call of our times: WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN", a deeply personal exploration of the current state of public education in the U.S. and how it is affecting our children.
School reform--definitely a different slant. Oprah seems to like it:

The operator of a Sacramento charter school received $1 million from Oprah Winfrey during a show that aired Monday.

Winfrey presented a check from her Angel Network to Aspire Public Schools CEO James Willcox along with five other public school organizations during a show dedicated to the documentary "Waiting for Superman," according to a press release.


Anonymous said...

And then, on the gripping hand, we could offer 2 million minutes.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

The gripping hand?

Anonymous said...

Darren: "The gripping hand?"

There is a science fiction novel, "The Mote in Gods Eye," where humans encounter a species with three arms/hands -- two small ones on one side and a large one on the other.

Contact is made, languages are learned, and an idiom for a third choice after "on the other hand" is born: On the gripping hand.

More details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_gripping_hand_%28idiom%29

I was using it to propose a third movie after "Race to Nowhere" and "Waiting for Superman."

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Cool! Sci fi references are awesome. So say we all.

EdD said...

I hope that no one is holding up "An
Inconvenient Truth" as some sort of cinematic masterpiece.

Darren said...

I certainly am not, but it's hard to argue that it was a movie that got lots of attention.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Having sat through "An Inconvenient Truth", the most that can be said about the movie was that it was workmanlike.

Given the subject that's about all that can be said about the movie since a too close examination of anthropogenic global warming makes its phoniness self-evident.

What I've seen of "Waiting For Superman" causes me to think that it comes from the same "ocean-wide, inch-deep" perspective as "An Inconvenient Truth" the director not having much of an idea of what's going on in the story he's shooting.

mazenko said...


This is one time where I completely agree with you.