The clarity with which Attebery presents sophisticated and complex ideas is another admirable quality. Without ever deviating from a conversational—and often amusing—tone, he skillfully weaves together a discussion of sf texts with references to theory ranging from Freudian psychology, through poststructuralist language theory, to feminist studies of science.
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Attebery never simplifies the ideas in order to present them in clear language, but he similarly never resorts to jargon as a substitute for clear thinking. The part of the work I most admire is the chapter examining gendered representations in the pulps, taking as its representative year. While working on this chapter, Attebery read all the original science fiction published in this year in its original version.
What strikes me as particularly valuable about this approach and the analysis emerging from it is that seeking out the texts in their original contexts reinforces the point that both gender and science fiction are representational codes among other codes circulating in a complex material world that shapes what we see and how we interpret it.
By situating his readings of specific stories within the context of the other stories, letters, and advertisements with which they originally were published, Attebery is able to foreground in revealing ways the relationship between the gender codes within the genre and those in the larger culture. This method produces, for example, the insight that the masculinity of science fiction heroes of this period is integrally related to the masculinity of science as a discipline, of the presumed masculinity of the commanding gaze of scientific investigation.
Further, by restoring the context of letters and other fan contributions to the field, Attebery also makes clear that, from the earliest days of the genre, the normative codes of gender were challenged as often as they were repeated. I found the last two chapters of the book to be the weakest.
The chapter successfully makes the point that the marked body influences how we see the world and thus that metaphors based on a different embodied experience could lead to a different account of selfhood and a new relationship between self and Other. Attebery demonstrates the degree to which the very metaphors we use to describe the world and assign value to it are intertwined with our ideologies of gender as a cultural system.
The final chapter takes a backward glance over the alternative history of science fiction that Attebery has constructed through the lens of gender. I did not find that the strands of anxiety regarding gender and sf were successfully sorted out from the strands of anxiety about literary or academic influence on the genre, and hence the material in this chapter was not as well connected to an analysis of gender as the rest of the volume. I also thought that at times the extremely broad reach of the book did not serve its project as well as I would have liked.
I found myself wanting more analysis at certain points rather than a rush on to the next chapter and the next perspective provided by the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of gender codes. I experienced this sense of frustration particularly near the end of the book where the organizational strategy for presenting the material shifts. In early chapters, Attebery pursues his alternative history of sf in a linear, chapter-by-chapter move from the past toward the present. This pattern is easy to follow within the individual chapters that use it Chapters 6, 7, and 9 but it breaks the larger historical flow of the overall work and also makes Chapter 8, a chapter dealing only with recent sf, quite disconnected from the chapters around it.
This concern with organization, however, is a minor quibble. The very fact that this gap has not generated comment up until the present brings me back to my original point. Decoding Gender in Science Fiction is vital precisely because it theorizes gender as a dual system rather than conflating the study of gender with the study of the female. Francis Xavier University. Andrew Butler and Farah Mendlesohn, eds. To say the least, there is a lot here. That work has shown him to be one of the most political writers working in sf in general, and in British sf in particular to be sure, no small feat.
Informed by Marx, Trotsky, and a host of other left-wing thinkers, his political vision is idiosyncratic, challenging, and entertaining. He makes interesting use of narrative structure, arranging a number of his novels in chapters that alternate between two, ultimately connected, plots. He employs first-person point of view to intriguing effect.
His prose varies from information-rich, Gibsonesque density to a clearer and almost surprisingly lyrical style. All of which is to say that Andrew M. By and large, they meet that challenge, assembling what is essentially a casebook on MacLeod. This casebook portrays a range of responses to the writer. The immediate critical reaction to his novels is captured by the four book reviews. The ongoing reception of his work emerges in the half-dozen critical articles. After placing the novel in its sf traditions, MacLeod discusses its relation to the events of s Afghanistan, suggesting the way in which it can be read as an apparently sympathetic coded portrait of heroic mujahedin struggling against godless communists.
In this light, it is no surprise to see both Andrew Butler and Andy Sawyer, in their respective interviews, questioning MacLeod on the place of politics in his work. The interviews reveal MacLeod to be gracious and articulate and, together with the essays by him, they nicely round out our view of the author. It is easy enough to quibble with the various reviewers in retrospect; the significance of the reviews lies in the way they demonstrate a recurrent concern with the politics fueling the novels in question. Tracing the different utopian traditions on which MacLeod draws in each of the Fall Revolution books, Mendlesohn has produced an invaluable guide to the ideas at play in the series.
Brown takes a bit more time than he needs to deliver his analysis, but his effort to view MacLeod alongside perhaps his closest contemporary is worth the time. It is not a bad idea, but the discussion suffers from a tendency to view the poems themselves as little more than polemics, so that one comes away from the essay with little understanding of why MacLeod has chosen to embody these ideas in poetry, as opposed to writing another essay. While there can be no doubt that MacLeod is a thoroughly political animal, he is also a novelist, and a rather complex one at that, and not enough attention has been paid to this side of his achievement.
For those first-time readers looking for greater understanding of a challenging novelist, or those critics looking to contribute to the discussion of his work, The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod is an invaluable resource. Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Eternal Savage: Nu of the Neocene. Tom Deitz. Bison Frontiers of Imagination. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, Robert W. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, Edgar Rice Burroughs is back. Tastes in literature are far more catholic than they were a generation ago.
On a more concrete level, one could point to the increased interest of university presses in printing titles that will actually sell to people outside academia. There is also the cultural-studies factor.
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But what should not be missed is that Burroughs is back because he is entertaining. Burroughs was a born storyteller, and this comes through even today. It was published in book form as The Eternal Lover in and no surprise was pirated by Ace Books in the s. Deitz candidly admits he read the book only because he had been asked to write the introduction. Nu is a Neocene savage. For him, the past truly is a different country.
Nu is hunting a saber-toothed tiger, with as routine an air as it is possible for a novelist to project, when an earthquake occurs. This is, as we know well, an alternate, colonial-era Africa. Here, we meet an American woman, Victoria Custer from Beatrice, Nebraska the name and place are a surfeit of significations in themselves! Victoria has repelled all suitors and is waiting for her dream man, a dark-haired giant. Victoria, an Isabel Archer-like figure, finds in Nu, the displaced troglodyte, a more deserving love interest than was achieved by her Jamesian original.
Nu, who arrives in the twentieth century still bearing the head of the saber-toothed tiger he has just killed, is disoriented. He can talk to the monkeys but most of the flora and fauna of his day are gone. Nu learns English quickly and is about to undertake a Tarzan-like courtship of Victoria, when he is re-displaced back to his own time. Several other men are after her, and she handles her situation with daring and aplomb.
Though the book cannot be said to be high art, to call it unsophisticated would be wrong; many of the ideas and much of the plotting are ingenious. Despite all the times when the reader is tempted to make fun of it, the book ends up being a moving time-travel love story.
In the wake of this realization, he takes an honorable and valorous course. Another reason we end up admiring rather than mocking this book is its anti-racism. Nu resents how badly the black population of Africa—here the Waziri—are treated. The Eternal Savage , though written in and filled with many character stereotypes, is not racist. Nor does it endorse imperialism or flatter the ego of the white race.
This book began informed assessment of Burroughs. The Mars Barsoom series, always gathering a more intellectual following, seemed to be far more sf than the Tarzan series. Notwithstanding primitivist stereotypes of Africa in the Tarzan books made more severe in the films , the fundamental humanity of Africans is affirmed, as occurs in The Eternal Savage. Burroughs was also, unsurprisingly given his simian interests, pro-evolution. Yet his dismissal of religious fundamentalism did not lead Burroughs in the other direction of Darwinist racialism. Tarzan and John Carter of Mars are heroes, but neither is an Ubermensch, at least not in the negative sense of that term.
Fenton, was not an academic but a journalist who was an unabashed Burroughs fan. Burroughs fandom in the s was in many ways similar to contemporary sf fan culture. He provides the reader with vital information, including a full chronology and primary Burroughs bibliography and a complete glossary of the ape-language of the Tarzan books. In twenty-five short chapters, themselves divided into bite-size parcels, Fenton tells the story of how Burroughs became a successful, world-famous writer from very meager beginnings.
Not at all to the manor born, not remotely part of the literary establishment, Burroughs persisted through a series of sputtering hopes and temporary jobs. Only at thirty-five did he aspire to write for the pulp magazines. Quickly, he became a best-selling author. Among his contributions, according to Fenton, was encouraging the members of the Honolulu Rotary Club to loosen up and reveal their inner Tarzan. Two Mars Adventures. Under the Moons of Mars. James P. Lincoln: U Nebraska P, Edwin L. Gullivar of Mars.
Commemorative Edition. Richard A. What I best remembered, though, was the sense of adventure in these paperback editions not to mention the outrageous Frank Frazetta artwork that adorned their covers. Regarding the mixed feelings described above, I must report that the sense of dread has now disappeared. The novels are quite impressive: one never gets the feeling that the author was anything less than enthusiastic. All in all, I expected to be cringing at the puerility of the novels; rarely did I, however. Having finished the Mars novels, I then turned to Edwin L. Years ago, Richard A.
Do the Burroughs fanatics really believe that their favorite author existed in a vacuum and read nothing? Surely he was influenced by Verne, Wells, and the author he most reminds me of, H. Rider Haggard. The debate is silly, and it does a disservice to both Burroughs and Arnold. Gullivar of Mars is a wonderful novel, one that certainly has its own inspirations and influences. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation ; and our hero travels to Mars via flying carpet!
Gulliver is gullible; Gullivar is ineffective, at best. Who influenced whom? I repeat: who cares? And speaking for myself, though I continue to think Wells the best of the early authors, it was the Burroughs novels with the Frank Frazetta covers that got me hooked. Kupfer, Nassau Community College. Essential Takes on the Essence of SF. Scott Bukatman. Both have carved out important careers writing at once as sf insiders and as sf outsiders, reminding us of the value of slipstream vision to the larger understanding of the uses and value of sf thinking.
Both teach us something worth learning—even when we disagree with them—with almost every word they write. Both share an abiding nostalgia for a theorized and fictionalized New York as the model for urban utopianism.
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And, of course, both have given us splendidly insightful meditations on superheroes. Talk about your Dynamic Duos! The superhero city is founded on the relationship between grids and grace. Grace is a function of elegant precision but also implies a virtuostic transcendence of the purely functional, and the city thus possesses a grace of its own. Superheroes are physically graceful, but they are graced through their freedom, their power, and their mobility.
Superhero comics embody the grace of the city; superheroes are graced by the city. Through the superhero, we gain a freedom of movement not constrained by the ground-level order imposed by the urban grid. The city becomes legible through signage and captions and the hero's panoramic and panoptic gaze. It is at once a site of anonymity and flamboyance.
Above all, soaring above all, the superhero city is a place of weightlessness, a site that exists, at least in part, in playful defiance of the spirit of gravity. That final sentence also foregrounds the contrast between weightlessness and gravity—considered literally and figuratively—that inspires and sometimes haunts this volume. Only Bukatman approaches modernist anxieties about technology from the future looking backward, while Nye and Tichi generally approach the future looking forward from nineteenth and early-twentieth-century anxieties and celebrations.
Buy the book if only for these two magnificent essays. His interrogations of technological culture all seem to rest on an apparently timeless modernist concern that the technologized world inexorably creates anxiety in its inhabitants. Moreover, while his work occasionally nods toward possibilities of resistance in viewers and readers, the possibility of truly transgressive agency on the part of those on the receiving end of technological spectacle never seems to get much consideration in these essays.
Just a thought—and a heretical one at that, since I also love those critics, also turn to them again and again, habitually try to make similar historicizing moves in my own attempts to understand digital culture, and just wish I could do so with half the panache and insight that Bukatman brings to all he writes. Gibsonian virtual reality makes a cameo or two in these essays, but if the web, much less web culture, got even a mention, I missed it.
Confronting the Violent Sublime. Elana Gomel. Bloodscripts: Writing the Violent Subject. The Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series, ed. James Phelan and Peter J. That quote exemplifies the clear, balanced sentences that form summarizing epigrams throughout the book. Indeed, two of the great pleasures of Bloodscripts are its clarity and its elegant prose.
The subject of torture, the monster of horror fiction, experiences an ellipsis, a gap, at the site of motive—he cannot say why he commits violence. Moreau and Dr. Her consistent focus on the body, in its vulnerability and temporality, means the discussion is never coldly academic or cold-bloodedly theoretical but humanely academic and responsibly theoretical. I am not entirely convinced, however, that the latter is necessarily a weakness, although it would be a weakness in, say, scientific method.
In my old age, as I consider how order may arise out of chaos, and as I read more books such as this one, it becomes easier to forgive and even welcome the approach. Instead, the lack of breadth in reading represents opportunities for the reader to add to the discussion. The perceived lack of breadth may be an active choice, I would note, since Gomel has, according to a cursory search, also written about the Strugatsky brothers, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, and J.
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Possible weaknesses aside, Gomel has stimulating things to say about the monster of horror fiction in her first chapter. This goes a long way toward explaining the horrible fascination we have with the Grand Guignol, not only in horror fiction and film, but in history: my class in literature of the Holocaust is always filled. Or, in the light of the twentieth-century experiments in utopian politics, what is the secret of Auschwitz? This chapter has much of value to say for utopian and dystopian criticism.
I found this chapter both frustrating and extremely useful for my own work. She focused on what she called investigative dystopias, exemplified by books by Robert Harris, Donald James, and Paul Johnston, and I admit that I was familiar with none of them. I wondered if Philip K. Had she provided a clear definition, some more familiar examples, and coherent and brief synopses of her own choices, I would have had a clearer understanding. Nevertheless, her application of the idea of the open secret to the New Man and the fascist dystopian utopias of twentieth century history was very valuable.
Hollinger and Gordon, Moreau into Dr. The margins of my copy of the book are filled with stars indicating especially cogent and neatly expressed points in this chapter. Let me cite a few examples. Of The Island of Dr. The confirmation clarifies and to a great extent justifies her limited and apparently eccentric range of choices throughout the book. Gomel seeks to restore history and, in so doing, return the body to the narrative of pain.
This chapter has wise and pointed things to say about the comfortable space that reliving an event provides, allowing one to escape responsibility and action. To determine whether a school was failing, standardized tests were used. These tests were given annually from the 3 rd grade to 8 th grade with two more tests in 10th and 12th grades. States were given leeway to design their own standards in relation to these tests or to adopt nationally prescribed standards Ravitch, ; Taubman, If, after limited attempts to turn around their low scores on these tests, a school was still designated as failing, parents were allowed to move their children to a non-failing school.
NCLB sought to give parents the freedom to choose where their children attended school. In reality, few bad schools have been closed, and charter schools—publicly funded schools that are able to circumvent collective bargaining and school district regulations—have grown in number while producing mixed results Raymond, Raymond et al.
This has also led to teachers becoming the main source and target of ire for school reformers. Whereas the initial aim of NCLB was to hold schools accountable, reform in the spirit of NCLB has sought to hold individual teachers accountable as well, tying pay to student performance and seeking ways to eliminate tenure. We avoid diving into the complexities of NCLB for fear that such a diversion would overshadow the purposes of this paper. More specifically, RTTT uses stimulus money to award grants to states and their proposed education reforms.
However, these reforms must be in line with the reforms supported by the current administration, such as charter schools, tying teacher pay to accountability, breaking the unions, and ending teacher tenure Ravitch, ; Taubman, The underlying goal of such reforms is the opening up of the public-school sector to private investment. So, while the policies of RTTT are not mandated universally, they are seeking to tie monetary resources to policy, in order to shape the policies in different states. While we avoid delving into more specifics here, it is helpful to keep in mind moving forward a working definition from Harvey that offers the basic tenets of neoliberalism:.
Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up those military, defence, police, and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if need be, the proper functioning of markets.
Furthermore, if markets do not exist in areas such as land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution then they must be created, by state action if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. State interventions in markets once created must be kept to a bare minimum because, according to the theory, the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals prices and because powerful interest groups will inevitably distort and bias state interventions particularly in democracies for their own benefit.
This definition plays out in the education reforms mentioned earlier. Education is a small part of a larger movement in the United States which relies on the application of the free market in all spheres and the assumption of a hyper-rational individual. To begin, it might be helpful to present the storyline of the film in more detail along with the typical characteristics of a documentary that the film contains. The film follows what has become the traditional elements of a modern-day documentary. It uses voiceover the narrator is Guggenheim , interviews with the subjects of the film and with educational experts, animation, clips from the news, and historical footage.
The overall focus of the film is on five children and their struggles within the public educational system. All of the students are in the public education system, but are seeking admittance to more exclusive charter schools. At the end of the movie each student attends a lottery to find out if they gained admission to a charter school. Initially, Anthony does not get into the school of his choice, but, in an epilogue, we find out that he eventually does. Each subsequent student is a variation on Anthony. Of all the students, only Anthony and Emily gain admittance to their respective charter schools.
It is interesting that all of the minority students come from inner-city public schools and the lone white student is from a suburban school district. This further reinforces stereotypes of these types of schools, inner-city schools serve minorities and suburban schools remain the property of whites. This trope becomes important later as we think about who is saving whom and, of course, the critical question of who gets to decide.
Taking the role of standardized testing for granted in education allows the film to easily move to accountability. In discussing this point, the Guggenheim makes the claim that the old way of thinking is to believe that the communities in which these schools are situated are mostly to blame for the high dropout rate, but now, there is evidence that the schools are mostly to blame.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly the evidence upon which the film relies. For example, the one study the film does cite only measures the dropout rates in certain schools, but does little to uncover the actual causes. It is here that the film makes its move towards the main crux of its argument: the reason these schools are failing is because of bad teachers. The movie builds its narrative structure upon key tenets of free-market reforms and ignores some of the problems inherent therein. The first tenet is the use of standardized testing to lay the groundwork for accountability amongst schools and teachers.
The film constantly refers to the results of these tests, either showing low reading scores state by state or comparing national scores to other countries, demonstrating how low the United States ranked in comparison. Not once does the documentary call into question the accuracy of these tests, let alone whether standardized testing is the most effective means to measure student knowledge. The film relies on some broad generalizations and one isolated example to arrive at this perceived problem.
The title of the film comes from the assertion that students are waiting for a Superman to come in and save the day in the form of good teachers, calling up images of a miraculous savior. While the film does highlight some examples of good teaching, it mainly stresses that there are far too many bad teachers out there and that the system is constructed in a way so that we cannot get rid of them.
To be fair, the film does acknowledge, briefly, that tenure and unions were established initially to protect teachers from unjust firings. However, the film then goes on to say the tenure system and the unions that support it make it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers. To substantiate this assertion, the film presents Randi Weingarten, the head of the National Federation of Teachers, as a demagogue, intent on protecting all teachers no matter how bad they might be. They also highlight the process it takes to fire teachers as arduous, bureaucratic, and outdated.
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While teacher unions might be part of the problem in education, the film simplifies the discussion by framing unions as the main source of all problems. Such a position makes working with unions nearly impossible and further polarizes the participants in education reform. The most glaring problem with the strategy of firing bad teachers is related to not questioning what to do next. Do you overburden the good teachers with more students? Are you going to hire more teachers? If so, from where are you going to hire them? The film never begins to brach any of these questions. If public schools house nothing but bad teachers, according to the logic of the film, charter schools are bastions of learning largely due to their lack of union affiliation and their position outside of traditional education bureaucracies.
This is unfortunate for several reasons.
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The first is that, on the whole, charter schools are remarkably similar to public schools. There are some very good ones, some downright lousy ones, and a many more in-between Raymond et al. The film just assumes that these schools are better, but only relies on two factors to determine that some specific charter schools are better than their public counterparts.
The first is standardized test scores; the second is the dropout rate. What the film fails to address is that by limiting the number of students these schools admit, they are thereby limiting the potential social issues that each student may face. Another missed point is that the parents that choose to send their children to charter schools are usually the ones who are motivated to help their children to learn in the first place, putting their children at a marked advantage than some fellow students at low-performing public schools Ravitch, Invoking Hall brings cultural studies analysis to bear not only on the film itself, but on the current state of educational reform and the ways in which the discourse operates in wider, complex social context.
In other words, an object, in this case a popular culture film, is encoded with a certain message much in the same way language is encoded with meaning. Indeed, encoding and decoding see these objects as others have seen language itself. Hall writes. Production, here, constructs the message. In one sense, then, the circuit begins here. Of course the production process is not without its discursive aspect [emphasis added]: it, too is framed throughout by meanings and ideas: knowledge-in-use concerning the routines of production, historically defined technical skills, professional ideologies, institutional knowledge, definitions and assumptions, assumptions about the audience and so on frame the constitutions of the programme through this production structure.
Further, though the production structures of television originate the television discourse, they do not constitute a closed system. In other words, the encoded message of an object is not guaranteed to remain constant. It will change once it is put out for public consumption. When this happens, the object gains a message that is different from the original encoding.
While the filmmakers claim that it was ostensibly created as a conversation starter, by encoding the film with arguments for testing, accountability, choice, charter schools, and ignoring social issues, the conversation presented a one-sided polemic. As Rudick notes, the film, and its subsequent marketing campaign, had the intent of shaping public opinion regarding school reform. What has been encouraging, from the point of view those who oppose free-market reforms, is that when the decoding of Waiting for Superman occurred many refused to take the initial encoding for granted.
In other words, whether the filmmakers truly intended to start a conversation or not, they surely did—there were no guarantees over how the conversation would develop. The evidence of this type of decoding can been seen in one particular Web site and its Facebook companion, Not Waiting for Superman. The concept is simple enough, both sites take issue with the film, point by point. They also offer links to find out further information that debunks many of the claims the film tries to make.
In addition, both sites will point visitors to where Davis Guggenheim or the film supporters are posting articles on other Web sites that promote the film, so they can make their own opinions heard in the comment sections of these posts. What has been interesting is that the decoding has had an effect on the continual encoding that Guggenheim engaged during the ongoing promotion of the film.
During the promotion, Guggenheim posted articles on the Huffington Post. The tenor of these articles changed as negative reaction, in the form of the aforementioned decoding, grew. Below are the titles and a selection of excerpts from each of the posts.
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So when the conversation about how to fix our school feels too complicated and overwhelming, just think of one thing: we can't have great schools without great teachers. Repeat after me: We can't have great schools without great teachers.
And when you start with that simple truth, the solutions become pretty clear. As we debate the complex issue of education, it feels overwhelming and confusing, and it is easy to forget that great teachers are at the heart of fixing our schools. You can divide the education world into two camps. No, not democrat or republican. Not incrementalist or disrupter. Or even pro-union or pro-charter. The best way to know whether you are on the right side of school reform is determined by how you answer these two questions: Do you dither? Or do you do? More of us at the table determined to fix our schools.
Teachers live it everyday so they get it—the good and the bad. And I am moved by all the reactions: the emotion, the criticism, the longing to help the kids in my documentary. Hearing this means the movie is working: the conversation is getting wider, bigger, deeper. This film has sparked a lot of conversation, debate and even some disagreement. And that's exactly what we were hoping for. At the time of the writing of this paper, Guggenheim had yet to directly respond to the 94 comments posted by teachers in response to his request, but it seems as though he was responding by changing the tenor and tone of the articles he wrote.
The overwhelming majority of the posts could be classified as the decoding that we have mentioned. Not only did the comments reject the message the movie was trying to send, but they also disputed the facts the movie relies upon. At first, Guggenheim implies that the discourse of educational reform has become too complicated causing us to lose sight of the core solution, hire better teachers. By the end, Guggenheim is acknowledging that the film has caused a complicated conversation and that this was the main goal of the film all along.
Each post was, at some level, a promotion, encouraging teachers to go see the movie. One wonders if the multiple decoding that took place in relation to his film had an effect. If he read the same comments presented here, one would think it had to factor in at some level. Even if David Guggenheim didn't do a lot of research into what it's like to be a teacher, he has gotten a taste of our experience; he has been lambasted on his blog. After having one of your movies picked apart by teachers. Diane Ravitch and more, imagine, Mr.
Guggenheim, what it is like, to have your whole carreer [sic] dismissed by people such as yourself—by people who consider themselves experts on your profession, but have no experience or education in the field. You told us what you really thought, and we have returned the favor. Got anything to say? I hope you haven't given up reading. We've endured years of scapegoating now, even had our names released by the Los Angeles Times as least effective teachers for anyone who has ever known us to see, and we're still standing.
Do you think you'd have the stomach for our business? To listen to all the hatred for a top price of 70K per year? In fact, this post sees the film as a continuation of a system that devalues the teaching profession. Although I have chosen to send my own children to a public school, I am guilty of choosing a better school than that in which I currently teach. The children in my current school come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, have no preschool experiences, and have no basic academic or social skills upon entering kindergarten.
My daughters have two full years of preschool and are growing up in a print-rich environment in which literacy and academic achievment [sic] are emphasized. My colleagues who teach kindergarten at my school consider it a successful day if no one eats a crayon, hits another student, or rips a book apart. And just getting rid of bad teachers will alleviate this problem?? This is what teachers are dealing with.
We can't go into the homes of these children and force their parents to read to them. We can't force parents to teach the values of hard work, discipline, cooperation, and other social skills that allow for success in school. The achievement gap in so-called low performing schools doesn't just magically appear because the system is full of bad teachers who can't teach reading and math. It starts much, much earlier and is far more complex than that, and we're doing the best we can with the kids who come to us. As other have stated, we need to deal with the disease—poverty.
Whereas the film ignores or wishes to brush aside these issues as merely excuses, this post sees them as major hurdles. In addition to its other problems, on full display in these comments, WFS is not a very good film, from a movie-making standpoint. Waiting for Superman hand-selects darling minority children as stars then stacks the deck against them in the narrative by slanting the data presented and suggesting that charter schools are the answer to our nation's failing public schools.