Can Movies Be Bad for Education?

According to early reactors who have voted in the Education Next poll of the best and worst in 2010 for American education, “Waiting for Superman” and the other recently released documentaries rank next to the stimulus package as among the worst things that have happened this year.

I can understand the argument that the movies are not the best event of the year. None are so spectacularly produced or have gathered such public momentum that they have flooded the education landscape with a feverish commitment to see to the education of the next generation. But the worst? What harm is there in learning about the crisis in American education, or the challenges faced by disadvantaged children, or the antics of school boards and union leaders? Even if one disagrees with the themes of the movies, what harm comes from having these ideas dramatized?

I hope the early returns prove misleading. Vote today!

-Paul E. Peterson

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