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Monday, January 31, 2011

'Superman' is Clearly Un-Canadian

President Barack Obama greets members of the cast at the White House.
Seeing Waiting for Superman
is like watching a World Vision commercial on television. You feel so much for the kids. Your heart melts when you hear their honesty and see their potential. You wonder if little Daisy will ever realize her dreams. And you have no doubt that they and their parents are struggling against great odds.

Are you moved to compassion? Absolutely.

But you have no doubt that their reality, their battle, takes place in a very different culture, in a foreign country.

You marvel at the level of seeming dysfunction in the system. Can it really be that bad? And you try to reassure yourself that this is not now, and can never be, representative of American education as a whole.

Mostly, you sympathize with American teachers, whose morale and reputation is being so dramatically dragged down by a movement this movie continues to feed. Because for all of Superman's purported truth and lies, only teachers and teacher unions, it seems, are to blame.

After the final credits, you realize that our education system bears about as much resemblance to that of our U.S. colleagues as our health care system bears to theirs. And you feel a certain guilty security in knowing that even though Canada's public schools aren't perfect, they certainly aren't broken.

Like watching that World Vision ad, you're touched and grateful, and glad to snap back into your own world, where you have never had to live the reality - nor bear the blame for the caricature - of Superman.

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