Local schools featured in 'Superman' Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Oct 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm
Woodside High School and Summit Preparatory Charter High School now have something in common with former Yankees superstar Mickey Mantle. All three make appearances in "Waiting for 'Superman,'" a harsh and compelling documentary and critique of U.S. public education.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 9:43 AM
Posted by matt, a resident of another community, on Oct 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm
The biggest problem facing our schools is the students themselves: the vast majority of them have no interest in learning, succeeding, or achieving any sort of scholarly success whatsoever.
This film can blame unions and teachers all it wants, but until a parent or guardian slaps their kid in the face and nails in the fact that they MUST succeed in school, or else, we are hopeless.
At some point one has to take away the politics; blaming teachers and unions for this is bush league - the fault for the state of our public school system lies with students who don't want to learn and parents who don't care.
Posted by MDean, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm
One the points of the film is that kids do want to learn and that we are failing them. The failure of a community is more likely to be caused from the failure of a school system ... not the other way around.
When it stops being about the adults and more about the kid's education, we might get somewhere ... Michelle Rhee is an inspiration ...go girl!
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm
We often hear about schools with extraordinarily high per student spending failing and schools with almost shameful resources producing excellence. I don't think success (however you choose to define it), is a function of teacher pay or tenure, student demographics, curriculum, or the modernity of a facility.
The biggest single factor, in my humble opinion, is parent involvement.
You can take the poorest kids from the worst neighborhoods and put them in very average schools. If they have an engaged parent, they will find a way to succeed. I have witnessed this first hand with very underprivileged kids from our immediate area now in post-graduate studies at Stanford and Berkeley.
You can take the richest kids from the best neighborhoods and put them in the most advanced schools with the best teachers. Without an engaged parent, they will find a way to fail. I think we have all witnessed this phenomenon.
More emphasis on parenting and holding parents accountable. Less emphasis on teacher pay, school facilities and testing.
Posted by Happy Mom, a member of the Woodside High School community, on Oct 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm
Woodside High School certainly prepared my child well for college - she got all A's, including one in an upper division class, in her first semester at UC Berkeley. I am assured that no matter how innately intelligent she is; she could not have accomplished that without superior high school preparation. By the way, she got into Berkeley without any tutoring, SAT prep classes, or even letting her parents proofread her application.
Posted by a concerned taxpayer, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:04 pm
Does this movie take into account the fact that many enter into Woodside reading at the third grade level and are learning English as a second language with parents that are semi-illiterate? The parents care but are busy working and caring for other children. The Sequoia District works hard to correct but miracles cannot be performed without a lot of work and diligence by all involved: teachers, parents and students. The ones that go to Summit have parents that are more involved as is required. Some that do go to Summit drop out and return to the normal school. It seems to me that this movie jumps to conclusions too quickly without understanding all the factors involved. Without the unions, public schools would be in worse shape than they are today.
Posted by Jordan, a resident of the Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde neighborhood, on Apr 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm
Students who don't want to learn are a reflection of a home enviroment that doesn't encourage their success and a reflection of a school system that doesn't believe in them. When we start reaching out to the community, and motivating students to want to learn by telling them not only CAN they succeed, but we EXPECT them too(and will do what it takes to help them) then will we see change.
Woodside is a great fit for some students, but for every student that graduates with the credits able to go to college, there are 9 more who graduate but will not have the credits to go to a four year university. At MA in 2007-08 about 10.5% dropped out--that's not exactly success. There are plenty of others who do not succeed in the system so to say that the district schools are effective is not accurate--they are effective with students who have parent involvement, and strong academic skills, and were on an AP track in middle school. But those students are very much so in the majority.
Summit takes students from the same demographic as the district schools-- and those students succeed. Its true some students go to Summit and then leave-- its not the right fit for everybody. But those students do not make up the students who need the most help at all--and they are in the minority.