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Susan Notes:

I've seen The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman four times and I recommend it highly.

  • The film, produced by GEM, premiered at Riverside Church in Harlem on May 19th and has been seen in communities across the country ever since--Phoenix, Boston, Albuquerque, Boston, Goddard College, Salt Lake City. . . to name a few.

  • About Grassroots Education Movement in New York City: The Grassroots Education Movement (GEMNYC) educates, organizes, and mobilizes educators, parents, students and communities to defend public education. Read more here

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    These folk are very low key about people paying for the film. But the truth is they can't continue to distribute it--unless we all do our fair share.

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  • Use the Film to Inform Yourself. Then Inform Others

  • Claims Vs. Truth

    The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

    Claim #1: Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, David Levin and Mike Feinberg are “a group of education reformers currently defying the odds.”

    Truth: Michelle Rhee was wildly unpopular in Washington D.C., where the Mayor lost his re-election bid because he supported her as Chancellor. Parents, students, and teachers have rejected her deform agenda. Ms. Rhee’s approach to reform undoubtedly unseated the Mayor of DC in a recent primary, and we have seen voters across the country reject deformer led political campaigns in the voting booth. A Chancellor who does not meet the needs of ALL parents and children should not be heralded as an exemplary reformer. Visit: http://realeducationreformdc.blogspot.com. Rhee continues to push her uninformed, unresearched policies, against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of parents, children, and educators through her new funded organiztion, Students First.

    Geoffrey Canada has built a charter brand with his Harlem Children’s Zone. While HCZ boasts surpluses of $200 million dollars, it collects millions in public funds and real estate sweetheart deals, siphoning tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and resources from needy public schools. Further, Canada’s approach to student enrollment is discriminatory and highly motivated by standardized test scores. Canada “fired” an entire class of children from HCZ, phasing out the middle school there, and restarted his program with students who only follow HCZ from Kindergarten on. Folks who run schools that do not serve ALL children should not be heralded as exemplary reformers.

    David Levin and Mike Feinberg’s KIPP schools have faced a multitude of controversies around the country. Their schools serve far less students with special needs, those that require ELL services and students who qualify for free lunch compared with their neighboring public schools. KIPP schools require parents and students to sign a “Contract for Excellence” because “they are here by choice”. If students and parents do not follow the contract, they can be dismissed from their KIPP School. Further, KIPP schools show high rates of attrition that are in alignment with their test scores. As students leave KIPP and are not replaced as they are in public schools, their test scores go up. In a line graph, these two data points are near mirror images of each other, as featured in our film. Folks who run schools that do not serve ALL children should not be heralded as exemplary reformers

    Claim #2: Teacher unions have obstructed reform in our public education system. Too much focus has been placed on what is good for adults, rather than children.

    Truth: Research shows the most significant factors attributed to high student achievement are smaller class size and teacher experience. Teacher unions are the primary reason class sizes have not ballooned out of control, particularly in New York City. While the ed deformers would like to turn teaching into a revolving door and hire more inexperienced and untrained Teach for America members (the vast majority stay in teaching for only two years), teacher unions ensure the protections and incentives necessary to have a teaching career where individuals can learn and grow as professionals and offer years of experience to their students. Unions are the only structure left to prevent the full privatization of public education and other vital services in our country; this is why teachers, and their unions, are under attack. Moreover, it is ironic so-called “reformers” attack teacher unions for obstructing reform when the vast majority of educators, and many parents, do not feel teacher unions have gone far enough to stop the drive to privatize or to protect public school students from large class sizes and high stakes testing, which all will result in the true destruction of our public education system. Finland, featured in WFS, has a teaching force that is 98% unionized.

    Claim #3: Charter schools are a silver bullet and offer something public schools have been lacking.

    Truth: The evidence analyzing student achievement in charter schools clearly shows that they perform overwhelmingly at about the same level or worse than public schools. While charter school performance mirrors public school performance in about 40% of cases, they serve far less vulnerable and needy students. Charter schools serve fewer children with special needs, fewer children who receive ELL services, and fewer children who receive free lunch compared with their neighboring public school. Further, charter schools enroll students by lottery, do not have to take students during the school year, and can dismiss students at will. Charter schools are nothing short of a tool in the re-segregation of our public school system, further sorting and separating children, and straining and dividing already under resourced neighborhoods. Only 1 in 5 charter is successful. In Finland, a system that now ranks #1 in the world, ALL students are given an equitable education with small class sizes and no high-stakes standardized tests.

    — Grassroots Education Movement



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