I agree with Rebecca on at least two major points in "Waiting for Superman." First of all, too many people think that the answer to troubled public schools is to be found in charter schools. I have looked at recent statistics regarding charter schools, and the truth is that students in charter schools usually perform no better on standardized tests than do children in public schools. As a matter of fact, charter school students often perform worse on standardized tests. Of course, standardized tests certainly should not be the only, or even the major factor in determining what a student has learned.
The most recent trend has been to tie these standardized test scores to teacher pays or evaluations, which will lead to a multitude of problems. For example, what if a child was sick on the day that a major evaluative test was given? The results are probably going to give a distorted picture of what that child has or has not learned. What implications does this have for the teacher? Does this mean that the teacher has not taught properly?
Unfortunately, much of the public is taken in by these ideas--the film ,Waiting for Superman , was one of the biggest pieces of propaganda that I have ever seen. It gets the viewer involved in the lives of the children being shadowed by the filmmaker, breaking the viewers' hearts when most of them are not chosen for a seat in a charter school. The conclusion, of course, is that this could all be avoided if those greedy teachers did not have unions and contracts. Although Karp tries to set the public straight in his speech by giving them the real story, I am not sure anybody is listening.