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Teaching: The Most Important Job in the World

November 11, 2010

Education in the United States – Inspiring or Depressing?

I think many would answer “depressing” to that question – unless – they went to see the documentary “Waiting for Superman” like I did over the weekend.

Let me rewind. First of all, I do firmly believe that education is the root of inspired action.

Last year, reporter Matthew Tully spent a year in Indianapolis public schools and told us about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was inspired reporting. In December of that year, he talked about a high school choir’s winter program at one of the poorest performing schools in Indianapolis. Normally, about 75 people show up for this annual performance in the 1200 seat auditorium. The community responded and the choir was amazed to see 2,000 people show up for their program. How do you think that response made those kids feel?

Years ago, I worked in a school with 4th graders and we talked about what peace means and how to be non-violent. Those kids had such innocence and they really wanted to be peaceful. I wondered, though, where they would be in five years.

The movie “Waiting for Superman,” addresses some of the obstacles to change in our education system, yet at the same time inspires us by showing models of great education right here in our country. Basically, great teachers combined with high expectations (of students, parents, and teachers) and community involvement can transform our education system.

My kids are grown now, but I am still a part of the community. I can be involved in public education, as a mentor or a tutor, or numerous other ways. In Indianapolis, some companies are allowing workers to take an hour a week to go to a school and help out.

Tell me, have you seen the movie and did it inspire you to do something about public education? I’d love to hear what you think.

Waiting for Superman – See the trailer here.

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