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Comments about ‘Michael Gerson: 'Won't Back Down' exposes education's embrace of failure’

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Published: Friday, Sept. 28 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Education is a failure because that's how we want it to be. We raise children in an environment that villainizes science, calls anyone above the malaise of reality tv a geek, nerd, dork, brainiac, foureyes, etc., and then send them to school demanding the teachers fix it all in an environment where we have to protect little Johnnys self esteem (bloated ego). Well, I've got news for you. Johnny is a dumb, spoiled brat. Maybe if he spent a bit more time among books at home and a few less years on video games, there would be some potential there. Until then, I'm not blaming the teacher if a couple bright kids have problems succeeding among 28 Johnny classmates.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

"Based on a true story" is to be taken with a grain of salt in this case. I would hope those who embrace this movie do a little research and find out the true facts behind this "true story."

killpack
Sandy, UT

"The new movie 'Won't Back Down' is to public education what Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' was to the meatpacking industry."

Hmm, if I was Upton Sinclair I'd be a little insulted. 'The Jungle' changed our entire society by telling us something we didn't know. Everyone already knows public education is a disaster, and we have known it for quite some time. Yet, we have repeatedly refused to do anything about it. This movie won't change anything.

freedomingood
provo, Utah

Most recommended

freedomingood

provo, Utah

I just saw it.

To summarize, the teacher's union is cast as the villan. Yawn. While there are certain realities about the highly polarized state of inner city school systems you are just grasping at straws to conclude that the unions are the cause of most of our schools being behind in education.

I know Arizona has a pretty non existant union and a 2% experienced teacher firing rate. Utah is considered unionized and has a .07% experienced teacher firing rate. We fire 28 times as many teachers in Arizona as Utah does.

The main argument against unions is that it keep administators from firing bad teachers. That appears to be correct. Now how does that affect performance?

Utah ranks 21st and Arizona is 45th.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

So what is your plan killpack and how realistically feasible would it be to implement? We await...

killpack
Sandy, UT

Howard Beal,

Here is my suggestion to parents: take your children out of public education. It is a total waste of time. If you can't afford to send them to Waterford, get them a job. They'll make money and actually learn real skills that will be useful to them, like how to work. Ivy League graduates are unemployed. Why do parents think lousy public secondary education is somehow worth the trouble. Only when people can afford it should people make the investment in education and only if it is quality education.

Really???
Kearns, UT

Oh, sure, let's make teachers the enemy one more time. How are we to expect the children to take their education seriously when we turn those in the schools into public enemy number one? Things aren't going to change until we teach our kids to treat teachers with respect. It starts at home.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

I spent thirteen years attending Salt Lake City Schools, practiced teaching in Salt Lake City, Jordan, Logan, and Cache Districts and the Edith Bowen Laboratory School. I have three degrees--as a Ute, an Aggie, and a Cougar. I taught for three years privately and for 31 years in Nebo School District. Everywhere I saw Utah teachers overwhelmingly committed to having all students succeed.

We feel pain and a sense of personal failure for every student who performs under his/her potential. We struggle to reach all students despite any limitations because we see their bright potentials. We are confused by "teacher appreciation" moments and thank-you notes against a backdrop of teacher bashing.

Many of us sought this profession out of a sense of mission, having rejected lucrative opportunities in other careers. My income dropped by half when I switched from Army officer to teacher.

We are not robot agents for any association or union, and regularly oppose most political positions of the NEA. Within our ranks are the same values and qualities of the Utah homes most of us were raised in.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Most people are tired of the blame game and the divisive discourse. This movie is financed by those who want to see public schools fail and teacher's unions fall by the wayside. I am more interested in collaborative discourse and discussion. Public education is the solution. The comments above regarding the union and public schools are baseless and divisive.
In Utah, we have worked together as public education teachers, association, administrators and superintendents to solve problems and Senate Bill 64 is a perfect example of this. The UEA has brought multiple resources to Glendale Intermediate and Horizonte to make a difference for our children.
I, for one, am sick of this vitriol and blame. Time to talk about how we all can make a difference TOGETHER and quit looking for a scapegoat to move a personal agenda.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

By the way Michael, this is not based on actual events and a work of fiction!

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

Sounds as if "Shoot the messenger," and "Not me," carry the day. People agree that public education needs help, but when we try to look at problem areas there is only finger pointing. When the school superintendent in New York City suggested actions that must be taken, the solution was to fire the superintendent. The education establishment is the most reactionary profession. Governor Scott Walker and Mayor Rahm Emanuel finally have faced reality.

EJM
Herriman, UT

As an educator all I can say is "come spend a day with me on my job" and then you can tell me what you think. The overwhelming majority of schools do what they can to teach our kids but when you get the school or school district that is off the charts bad then people and the media love to run with that story and say "this is what is wrong with education". As Don Henley wrote in one of his songs "get the widow on the set we need dirty laundry".

Winglish
Lehi, UT

This opinion piece reads like an ad for No Child Left Behind, which has been proven time and time again to be a mathematical impossibility. My school had 95% of its students reach proficiency in reading and writing last year. NCLB would shut us down in 2014 because we did not meet 100%. It is absolutely ludicrous, beyond absurd. No Child Left Behind was simply an attempt, like this film, to destroy public education. The corrupt extremists on the far right will stop,at nothing until they can get every education dollar into their greedy corporate hands.

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