27 October 2010

Waiting for Kryptonite

A documentary film is supposed to try, at least, to deal with realities - at least that is the way the genre conventionally has promoted itself. Otherwise it slips over the line into propaganda. Seems like the film Waiting for Superman has crossed the boundary - that is why we need a border fence! In NYRB this week Diane Ravitch, not a movie critic but a former enthusiast for right wing schemes for 'reforming' public education of the sort the movie peddles, has a go at the film. Let's just say, that she doesn't think it is a reality based effort. I have, in the past, posted on right wing educational proposals: the entirely mediocre record that charter schools have amassed, the anti-democratic nature of centralized control proposals and the generally wrongheaded nature of the clamor for "standards"; no need to repeat myself here.

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Blogger adam hujhes said...

If you are interested in documentary film, I highly recommend the work of Bill Nichols (Introduction to Documentary, 2001). He develops a classification scheme for documentary films with a lot of explanatory potential (including expository, participatory, reflexive, poetic modes of filmmaking). I think that Nichols would argue that propaganda is a kind of documentary and that reality is never a given.

27 October, 2010 22:04  
Blogger Stan B. said...

My two cents: http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/2010/10/public-school-public-shame.html

But this is the guy who's the real deal:

Jonathan Kozol is an impassioned education advocate who has devoted the entirety of his being to exposing and improving the many faults within this most failed of public institutions. Kozol has put many a year in the type of hands on, in the field research that leaves no stone unturned in the most difficult nooks and crannies served by public ed.He openly scoffs at the so called ed. experts who pompously prescribe their quick fix resolutions without addressing the multi-ton elephant in the room- de facto racism.

While some people (like former Ed Czar William Benet) openly contemplate what the country would be like without black children, Mr. Kozol contemplates what this nation would be like if it was afforded a first rate education system that served all its constituents fairly and appropriately. His books teach and inform not by theory, but by entering and examining the very homes, classrooms and lives of students, parents and teachers alike- and only then offering real life analysis and solutions.


28 October, 2010 10:33  
Blogger Stan B. said...

He is the SUPERMAN- Guggenheim et al need not wait...

28 October, 2010 12:21  

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