"Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim, holds up my school, SEED, as an exemplar of
opportunity and success for educating at-risk youth, but really only portrays
it through the admissions process. Teachers and classrooms aren’t spotlighted.
SEED, a tuition-free
college-prep, five-day-a-week boarding school, located in Southeast D.C., is an
outstanding example of what charter schools are meant for; it’s an innovative
alternative to a traditional public school and a place for responsibly
experimenting with new models of wrap-around services. It currently serves
around 325 students in Washington, D.C. and there’s a new SEED School in
Baltimore that is several years away from growing to its full scale.
I love my job teaching
English at SEED, and I receive the space and support to excel at it. So what makes it work? Many of the most
important parts are replicable en masse in the public system."
Dan Brown—a brilliant young teacher who is also a colleague of mine in the Teacher Leaders Network—happens to work at one of the charter schools spotlighted and celebrated as an alternative to the abyss in the new edu-bashing film, Waiting for Superman.
In this post, Dan points out several practical changes that public schools—which serve the VAST majority of American students—can make today to improve teaching and learning.
What I like about Dan's bit is that he clearly demonstrates that the conditions that make him so successful at his current school aren't afforded to teachers working in comparable public schools.
That's such an important message for policymakers to hear. We're so willing to celebrate charter schools but we're unable—or unwilling—to ensure that public school teachers have the same kinds of working conditions and opportunities.
How does THAT make sense?