Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes, we need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet. -Aaron Sorkin
There are very very few things that get the kind of cross-spectrum political agreement that education does. Left, right, urban, rural, we actually agree that schools matter. Of course that’s probably why our schools tend to suck so much. Anything you can get the electorate to agree on has no electoral traction. Davis Guggenheim, director of An Inconvenient Truth (and there went half the voters) has a new documentary on the sad state of American public schools called Waiting for Superman. Trailer below.
Making a documentary that is already preaching to a choir that encompasses just about everybody in the country takes a bit of skill, because it’s hard to find something to really hook you on. Kids are dumber than they used to be, the books are falling apart, the teachers are underpaid, drugs, pregnancy, drop outs, gangs. Yeah, yeah, we know those things are bad, but you know, we’ve seen Law and Order and those things just don’t surprise us. But that lottery? That’s a hook for a documentary. Fuck, that’s the kind of thing that would get me personally pissed off if the documentary was about schools in some shitpot with a primary export of sand and a political system based on reading insect entrails. But in America?
Think about every problem, every challenge we face. The solution to each starts with education. -George H.W. Bush