Chuck Muth: 'Superman' vs. govt's 'failure factories'

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Parents left the debut of "Waiting for Superman" in New York last weekend either "seething or in tears" after being "rocked by the work's portrayal of the teachers unions' protection of subpar educators."

"I'm almost speechless with horror and disgust," Rita Callahan told the New York Post.

In the film, Washington, D.C., public schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee admits, "You wake up every morning and you know that kids are getting a really crappy education right now. The interviewer responds, "So you think that most of the kids here are getting a crappy education right now?"

Rhee retorts, "Oh, I don't think they are; I know they are."

"You knew that education was a problem," Carlos Terrazas told the Post, "but you think if you threw money at the situation, it would be solved."

Welcome to the real world, Mr. Terrazas.

"Every morning, in big cities, suburbs and small towns across America, parents send their children off to school with the highest of hopes," a synopsis of the documentary on the film's website explains.

"But a shocking number of students in the United States attend schools where they have virtually no chance of learning - failure factories likelier to produce drop-outs than college graduates. And despite decades of well-intended reforms and huge sums of money spent on the problem, our public schools haven't improved markedly since the 1970s.

"Why? There is an answer. And it's not what you think."

Union teachers and union officials, not surprisingly, hate the movie.

"We don't like 'Waiting for Superman' because we feel it stereotypes union teachers," said Arthur Goldstein, 55, a teacher at Francis Lewis HS in Queens and a United Federation of Teachers chapter leader.

Pound sand, Mr. Goldstein.

Your union has been cheating our children out of quality educations for decades now, creating this false image that all teachers are competent and highly qualified and that all the problems in our public schools are due to uninvolved parents and not enough money. It's about time somebody ripped off the mask and exposed you for the greedy, self-interested obstructionists you really are.

There are excellent, dedicated and highly talented teachers in Nevada's public schools. Unfortunately, they're stuck in a Soviet-style government monopoly run by union bosses in which they no longer have control over their classrooms or over what and how they teach.

We owe it as much to those teachers as we do our children and our state's future to break the stranglehold the government bureaucrats and the teachers union have over education in Nevada. Perhaps this film will spark a long overdue movement in that direction.

Oh, and by the way, this film was not produced by some right-wing extremist, but by the director of Al Gore's global warming film, "An Inconveni-ent Truth."

• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at


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