2010-10-01 / Columnists

School Scope

The Inconvenient Truth Behind ‘Waiting for Superman’
Commentary By Norman Scott

Norman Scott Norman Scott If you are in any way involved in education, or even if you are not, many of you have been seeing the bombardment of hype for the Davis Guggenheim film, “Waiting for Superman,” a film that lauds charter schools over public schools, enforces the myth that failure of students and schools should be laid at the feet of teachers and assaults the union as the villain. Guggenheim also did the Al Gore film “An Inconvenient Truth.” Thus, the headline of this week’s column, the title of a film I am working on with a bunch of NYC teachers from the Grassroots Education Movement (gemnyc@gmail.com) to respond to the mistruths and misleads of WfS. The trailer we made for our film received 5000 hits in the first week at www.waitingforsupermantruth.org, an indication of the indignation so many teachers and parents are feeling about the film and the other education deformer attacks, with this week’s NBC Education Nation, funded so much by ed deform money, being a major culprit.

The teacher and parent blogosphere is aflame with outrage. Here is just a sample from NYC high school teacher and blogger NYC Educator:

Everyone is talking to me about the nonsense spewing forth from Oprah, from the propaganda film, from the mayor. Yesterday morning, driving to work, I heard Bloomberg saying teachers need to be paid like professionals. This from the man who just unilaterally announced that teachers, unlike all other city workers, were not going to get any raise whatsoever this bargaining cycle. Of course the mayor was talking about merit pay, which was pretty handily discredited in a very recent Tennessee study.

Then there’s NBC’s preposterously named Education Nation, which presents the status quo from those with money, and then offers the status quo from those with power, so as to present both sides. Diane Ravitch? Never heard of her. Let’s have Michael Bloomberg give another speech about how awful the teachers are. When his test scores appeared to have risen, it was attributable to the sheer brilliance of his “reforms.” When the state put a sharp pin in his bubble, it was time once again to talk about the teachers.

What can you say about a nation that ignores the foibles of the Wall Street crowd that tossed the entire economy in the toilet, and then relies on those same incompetents to bolster its education program?

The Grassroots Education Movement (GEMNYC) is a group I helped found a year and a half ago to respond to the attacks on public education and public school teachers by the privatizers and the politicians they control, which unfortunately includes just about all of them.

In my last column I mentioned that GEM was going to be engaging in some actions on September 24, the day WfS opened. Calling themselves the Real Reformers, a group of about 30 teachers wearing red capes with “RR” stamped on the back rallied in front of the Lincoln Square Theater at 68th Street and Broadway. They were there to perform their own version of an Eminem rap song.

Will the Real Reformers Please Stand Up? was performed a number of times throughout the evening as patrons entered and left the theater, many engaging in (sometimes heated) conversations with the performers and their supporters. You can see the video we made at our web site. http://www.waitingforsupermantruth.o rg/. (See the lyrics below.)

Rick Ayers (brother of Bill) put out a great point-by-point rebuttal to the film, which I posted on one of my blogs: normsnotes2.blogspot.com/2010/09/bre aking-down-waiting-for-superman.

Of course, read it at your own peril. Sarah Palin may be lurking to chastise you for pallin’ around with terrorists’ brothers. Or is it Palin around with idiots?

Will the Real Reformers Please Stand Up?

(To the music of Eminem’s Will the
Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?
May, I have your attention please?
May, I have your attention please?
Will the real reformers please stand
I repeat, will the real reformers please
stand up?
We might have a problem here…
These deformers don’t gotta real plan
in their pack, but we do
We reject their agenda and you should
You think they have ideas for real
Half them been looking for ways to
make cash since they were born.
“But guys, what if its not lies, wouldn’t
it be great?” (nerdy voice)
Why, so these guys can sell their charter
Mess with our kids’ future fate?
Naw, Superman is here and not too
late. (sarcastic)
Klein, Rhee and Duncan better switch
us jobs,

So we can put an end to those hedge
fund hogs.
They put teachers on blast in the newspaper?

“ all you need is quality teachers ….
deerrrr!” (mocking voice)
We will expose their agenda and open
your eyes
And show the world their drive to privatize…
(yell: ahhhhhhh)
sick of the law and pr groups all you do
harms kids
So we have been sent here to expose
And there’s a million reformers just
like us,
Who teach like us, who have kids like
who care like us, real reformers for
just trust us, parents and teachers
unite like us…
Cause we the real reformers, yes the
real reformers
All you other deformers are just speculating

So won’t the real reformers please
stand up,
Please stand up, please stand up?
(repeat 2x)
When he’s not rapping, Norm blogs
at: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com.
Email him at normsco@gmail.com

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