A barrel-chested comic book character must save public education? Compelling soundbite to sell a movie maybe but when it comes to real education reform, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel gives the American public more credit than the backers of Waiting for Superman. “Nowhere in the film or its discussion have teachers’ voices been heard,” says Van Roekel. “If you want to know how to make a public school great, ask a teacher, not Hollywood.”
In his statement to the media, Van Roekel pointed out that director Davis Guggenheim and the film’s producers missed an opportunity to talk with educators about how to truly transform public education. Instead, the film — and the unblinking cheerleaders it found in such media figures as Oprah Winfrey — demonizes public education, teachers unions and educators. It’s simplistic messaging — charters are good and teachers unions are bad — thwarts thoughtful discussions about improving public schools.