The movie lays blame on poor teachers, and if you were to watch the movie AND try to figure out someplace to point the finger of blame it would be at the teacher's unions and the inability of administrators to fire teachers who don't measure up. If you were to watch the movie hoping to find a solution, it would be the charter school movement, even though statistically, charter schools show performance measured at equal to or less than that of the schools they hope to replace. So, if you are waiting for "Waiting for Superman" to present clear answers, or hope for American children don't wait.
What we need most is a clear vision upon which to proceed.
One art teacher told me that what we've discovered, you and I, in this blog, is the "philosopher's stone of education." It is nothing complicated. It is nothing new. It works. It applies to all students regardless of social class, sex, race, or ethnicity, and it applies whether or not children have been read to and nurtured and prepared for learning in their homes. It offers dignity. It offers growth. It fits those who are going to college, and it fits those who for a variety of reasons will not.
Where the hands are engaged in learning, whether through arts, crafts, music, science, or athletics, what we learn hands-on is learned at greater depth, to greater lasting effect. Where the hands and mind are engaged as partners in learning through the development of skills expressed as meaningful accomplishments, there are transforming effects on the character of the child.I don't know how I could be more precise. "Waiting for Superman" presents a complex problem. How do we get a grip on American education? With our hands.
Don't wait. Superman isn't coming. But YOU ARE SUPERMAN when your own hands bring wisdom, and when you offer your hands in transformation of education. Don't wait, Make, fix and create.
I've been retaking some photos for an article in American Woodworker Magazine, on making a sliding book rack. Math is not simply numbers, but also involves "spatial sense" which is the foundation of geometry, but also key to the making of things. I use a process of flipping objects as a way of developing symmetry in the fitting of parts and in the design of symmetrical objects. So how do you mortise or drill in from both sides of an object to get perfect alignment from both sides? That is the hidden subject of the article, and as you learn how to make the sliding book rack you also learn other things through your own exercise of spatial sense that forms the foundation of mathematics, engineering and human culture. The photo below shows the use of a flipping set-up piece for locating the fence and stop blocks (left and right) for drilling mortises that intersect perfectly at the center of the stock.