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Source: Davis Guggenheim, 2010 Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s documentary, Waiting for ‘Superman,’ covers the systemic issues with public education in America.The film follows the lives and stories of different families across the United States.We can define the one of the major problems with US public education as failing elementary and middle schools leading to drop out factories.
She is a good student who wants to go to medical school, but the majority of her fellow classmates are learning below average.
By the time Daisy graduates from Stevenson Middle School, only 13% of her classmates will be proficient in math (Guggenheim ().
I have often argued that I would not let any teacher into a school unless – as a minimum – they had read, carefully and well, the three great books on education: Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s Émile and Dewey’s Democracy and Education.
There would be no instrumental purpose in this, but the struggle to understand these books and the thinking involved in understanding them would change teachers and ultimately teaching.
more I have often argued that I would not let any teacher into a school unless – as a minimum – they had read, carefully and well, the three great books on education: Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s Émile and Dewey’s Democracy and Education.
After two decades of mostly-forward movement and many big wins, the last few years have been a tough patch for education reform.The books I have identified, with the help of members of the Institute of Ideas’ Education Forum, teachers and colleagues at several universities, constitute an attempt at an education “canon”.What are “out” of my list are textbooks and guides to classroom practice. But there are some great literary works that should be read by every teacher: Charles Dicken’s Hard Times – for Gradgrind’s now much-needed celebration of facts; D. Lawrence’s The Rainbow – for Ursula Brangwen’s struggle against her early child-centred idealism in the reality of St Philips School; and Alan Bennett’s The History Boys – for Hector’s role as the subversive teacher committed to knowledge.Additionally, 57% of Daisy’s potential high school classmates will not graduate. Robert Balfanz at John Hopkins University calls schools like Roosevelt ‘drop out factories.’ There is a pattern of failing elementary and middle schools pushing unqualified kids through the school system.By the time these kids get to high school they are multiple grade levels behind and end up dropping out.The end goal for publicly funded, independent Charter Schools is to have more students stay in school and make it to college.However, Charter Schools are not helping all American children.They are from different cities, different racial backgrounds, and have different socioeconomic statuses, but, they all suffer from the US public school system.Daisy, an ambitious, Latino ten year old lives in southern California.These are the three great books because each is sociologically whole. They constitute the intellectual background to any informed discussion of education. I used to recommend the “blistering indictment” of the flight from traditional liberal education that is Melanie Phillips’s All Must Have Prizes, to be read alongside Tom Bentley’s Learning Beyond the Classroom: Education for a Changing World, which is a defence of a wider view of learning for the “learning age”.They each present a description and arguments for an education for a particular and better society. Plato’s tripartite education for a just society ruled over by philosopher kings; Rousseau’s education through nature to establish the social contract and Dewey’s relevant, problem-solving democratic education for a democratic society can all be criticised. These two books defined the debate in the 1990s between traditional education by authoritative teachers and its rejection in favour of a new learning in partnership with students.