It's always easy in the movies....

A teacher points out how unrealistic inner-city education is portrayed in the movies in The Atlantic. I've addressed this theme before, and I always think of Kindergarten Cop, where good teaching means getting students to march, obey, and perform a musical number. No lesson plans.  No core curriculum. No one going after your tenure.  Sigh.

2014 promises to be a banner year for education in the news. New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, will likely reverse some of his predecessor’s reform-minded policies. States are moving forward with implementing the Common Core standards despite increasing opposition.  And a number of closely watched court cases around tenure rules will have rulings handed down—with potentially wide-ranging effects.    
How will Americans process education news in the coming year? How will they decide which policies they support and which ones they oppose? How will they determine not only what’s best for their own children, but for children from other, less advantaged backgrounds? Unfortunately, many Americans’ experience with failing schools and struggling students comes from what they  see in films such as Stand and DeliverDangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, andLean on Me. These movies are popular: Dangerous Minds made more than $80 million at the box office in 1995, and the star of Stand and Deliver was nominated for an Oscar. But inspirational teacher films do not offer a realistic portrait of what it’s like to be a teacher or a student in an underserved school. Here's why.


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