Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting for Superman When Who We Need is Batman

Along with my husband and sons, I am an avid superhero fan. There's just something about these characters that not only inspire, but instill hope in the every day person. The documentary "Waiting for Superman" did a good job pointing out the problems in our public schools and even showcasing some of those who are finding solutions. I guess I take issue with the choice of icon that it says we need - Superman.I prefer Batman myself.

  • Superman is an alien from another planet. He may look like us, but he's not human.
  • Batman is just a man seeking justice for those in the city that he loves, the city of his birth.
  • Superman has superpowers like laser eyes, super-strength, he can fly, etc.
  • Batman has trained as a fighter, as a Marshall artist, and is electronically and technologically advanced.
  • Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite.
  • Batman is a man and has the same weaknesses of every man.
  • Superman was the son of royalty and stayed away from the underbelly of life.
  • Batman was the son of the rich too, but spent a lot time living anonymously on the streets to learn.
  • Superman is what we'd call a "boy scout."
  • Batman is troubled, like the rest of us.
  • Superman was a loner.
  • Batman had Alfred.

When you deal with problems, it is always better to talk to and be advised by someone who knows what your life is like - someone who's been there. Too often those making decisions about education are not educators - they are like Superman. Those in the trenches need the superpowers, usually reserved for Superman, to make a difference. Even the teachers and principals at the charter schools profiled in "Waiting for Superman" had superpowers. It didn't matter that they were located in poor neighborhoods. Their charters and their ability to pick and choose who they serve and which teachers to hire gave them superpowers the every day teacher and principal in a traditional public school just don't have access to. Not every school will become a charter school, so we can't depend on Superman to solve this problem.

We need Batman.

We need to train hard, we need to really know our enemy (ignorance), we need to be street smart, on top of our game, never give up, never surrender!

Every educator has the potential to be Batman. No one else can ever be Superman. So what are we waiting for? We already have the ability - we don't need superpowers.