Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waiting for check his sources...

The title of this blog changed along the way - it started as "Waiting for Pinocchio to SHUT UP!" But the seething anger I've been carrying around is so toxic I had to temper it lest I come across as short and snippy with friends, colleagues, and worst-of-all, the students in my school.

"Pinocchio" refers to the propaganda pushers who are speaking of public schools as if they themselves sit in the front row of Miss Kilpatrick's classroom every day and therefore are experts on the issues of education. In the process there is misinformation (read: lies) being broadcast across the country.

Educators have been speaking out, for example, about the movie Waiting for Superman (I won't include the link to the trailer because I refuse to promote it.) I did watch the preview...once...and will not watch it again. Basically it says that schools and teachers are failing and that charter schools are the answer to all of public education's problems.

I'm sure there are some amazing charter schools. There are also some lousy ones. Sound familiar? Can we not say that about non-charter public schools, private schools, churches, restaurants, medical facilities, and on and on?

Oprah even hung on to Waiting for Superman's cape and made sure her audience was made aware of how difficult it is to get "bad" teachers out of schools. Did you know that teachers receive tenure after two years? That's what Pinocchio said that day. Well, guess what? It takes four years in my state. Four. At the end of years one, two, and three, a principal can decide to "non-renew" a contract. It seems to be a secret that poor teachers can be let go.

Teachers have been weary for awhile now...taking the blame for the alleged "failure" in schools. We're not weary any more. We're mad.

But what can we do about a movie that says "Our schools are failing. Our teachers are failing"? I heard a principal yesterday say, "We're always the punching bag...always on our heels...we're never on our toes, punching ourselves..."

I think it's time to punch Pinocchio. Let's make our own movies. Grab a video camera and record a success story, a student talking about the public school experience that kept him in school, another talking about the teacher who made a difference. Let's edit all the clips together and make our own movie - Superman is HERE. I have my camera ready? Do you?