Waiting for Superman

Kristin and I snagged this from Red-Box on Blu-Ray along with a couple $1 sundaes (quite tasty, thank you for asking) and it wasn’t really the best material for a Saturday night movie.  It didn’t feature any really famous people, it wasn’t particularly uplifting and it will force Kristin and I to consider unpleasant aspects of the future life of our unborn son.  That sad, get off your tush and spend a couple of hours considering the future of our nation.   If you or some one you would watch with is affiliated with a teachers union, you’d likely want to get an idea how they might feel about being painted as the main antagonist in the battle for change in the education system.

Basically, the premise of the movie is that our education system is “broken.”  It was great through about the first three quarters of the 1900’s simply given the fact that we had an inclusive education system that managed to graduate enough college prepped students to keep our engineering and science professions supplied with talent, refuel the education system itself and let the rest find their way.  In the meantime, the strength of economy has begun a very serious shift away from jobs for the minimally educated (manufacturing, etc.) to to those that require a high level of specialization (Information Age) to perform.

The movie is pretty alarming, indicating that no matter where you go, your children who attend public school are unlikely to be prepared for college even if they do finish high school.  I was interested in this and so dug up a census bureau report, linked to from this wikipedia article.  This report reveals that even though just slightly less than 90% of  my current peers graduate high school, less than 30% of them have college degrees.  Is this due to financial reasons?  Maybe?  It could also be, as the movie insinuates, the typical high school graduate is not ready for college.   Something to think about, however.

When you take a gander at that Wikipedia article, look at how much of a difference a degree makes in income and in unemployment rates.  Individual earning (and thus, spending) potential is an item of great concern as we look to the next twenty or so years.  We will have to outspend other developing countries (China) for sparse resources like oil and this is dependent on individuals being able to pay a lot at the pump.  It is clear that many other countries are pumping more highly educated young people than the U.S. currently is – if we care about future generations we should try to close the gap.

In the end, it is supposed to be a motivational documentary so it is going to be a little incendiary.  Hopefully it will get you to do some research, where you are likely to find that things aren’t as bad as a broken down bronx neighborhood school in your hometown – but that things could be quite a bit better, too.


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