Speak Out: Waiting for "Superman"

Phone Booth, February 2008 by Flickr user Maggie Osterberg.

The documentary film, Waiting for “Superman,” by producer Davis Guggenheim is scheduled to open in Columbus on Friday, Oct. 14. A film that evokes strong emotions, it tells the story of injustice in America’s education system. It says important things about the challenges of the public education system. However, the reductive messaging—“charters are good” and “teachers unions are bad”—oversimplifies complicated issues and threatens to thwart thoughtful discussions about improving public schools.

You will be tempted to get defensive about this film. But CEA welcomes and encourages filmgoers to join us in our mission of making great public schools for every student. Association members have always led the fight for great public schools, and we hope the movie inspires others to become engaged in a larger discussion about the shared responsibility for public education.

The CEA Blog wants to know:

What are your thoughts about  Waiting For “Superman”? Do you think this film will create a constructive or divisive dialogue about improving public education? Feel free to write a review if you have already seen the film!

Visitors to the CEA Blog do not need to be registered to leave a reply. Simply click on the “Comments” link directly below the post title. Type in a screen name of your choice, enter your email address and leave your comment. Please make sure your comment adheres to our posting guidelines. Once your comment has been moderated, it will be visible to all visitors to the CEA Blog.

NEA President visits CCS schools

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel stopped in Columbus on Wednesday, Aug. 25, as part of his week-long, multi-city, back-to-school tour. The veteran high school math teacher arrived at West HS at 6:20 a.m. on the first day of the new school year to meet and greet the staff.

West HS is one of seven CCS Priority Schools designated by the Ohio Department of Education. The seven schools could receive a total of $20 million in additional federal funding over the next three years as recipients of School Improvement Grants (SIGs). President Van Roekel spoke with teachers and administrators of West’s Innovation Team tasked with using SIG monies to facilitate the transformation of teaching and learning at the school.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks and CEA President Rhonda Johnson traveled from West HS to join Gov. Ted Strickland, Supt. Gene Harris and other dignitaries at South Mifflin STEM Academy to announce the award of a $550,000 service learning grant from the federal government.

Awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the “Bringing Learning to Life” grant partners include NEA, OEA, CEA, CCS and The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology.

“Teachers will receive professional development to help them create more effective hands-on learning opportunities for students,” stated Van Roekel. “We look forward to seeing the work that comes out of this project; it is our hope that we will be able to replicate it in other places.”

“The grant is vital to the Columbus community,” agreed President Johnson. “It will allow the members of the Columbus Education Association to receive professional development that will help them continue to lead the way in restoring schools to their traditional roles as community hubs.”

After a tour of South Mifflin STEM Academy, Van Roekel, Frost-Brooks and Johnson traveled to Champion MS. The visit to Champion MS illustrated NEA’s Positive Agenda and Priority Schools principles. Teachers recruited to staff this high-needs school are paid an extra $4,000 a year.

 After having lunch with the staff, Van Roekel departed for Austin, Texas.

Ohio is a finalist for the second round of Race to the Top

Ohio was one of 36 states that submitted an application to the second round of the United States Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RttT) competitive grant program. The Department recently announced that due to the strength of its application, Ohio was one of 18 states and the District of Columbia that earned RttT finalist status. This marks the second time Ohio has earned finalist status for RttT. The Columbus Education Association and Columbus City Schools were co-signatories on Ohio’s first and second round RttT applications.

Ohio’s RttT pitch team is expected to give their presentation to a panel of judges during the week of Aug. 9 in Washington, D.C. Ohio’s first round pitch team included Governor Ted Strickland, State Supt. Deborah Delisle, CCS Supt. Gene Harris, Deputy State Supt. Marilyn Troyer and Jim Mahoney, Executive Director of Battelle for Kids. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce RttT winners in early September.

In Franklin County, a total of 11 school districts signed on to the state’s RttT application.  They include: Bexley, Columbus, Canal Winchester, Dublin, Grandview Heights, Groveport Madison, Hiliard, Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, Whitehall and Worthington. Only five districts declined to join the state’s application, including: Gahanna, Hamilton Local, New Albany, South-Western and Westerville.

Ohio has asked for $400 million from the federal government to implement the reforms outlined in the state’s application. Columbus City Schools could receive more than $20 million if Ohio’s proposal is accepted by the federal government.