Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” What does it mean to learn? To learn is the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something; the activity of someone who learns; knowledge or skill gained from learning. Every living, breathing creature on the earth has been blessed with some capability to learn. The opportunity to learn is in everything we do. We learn inside and out of classrooms, and learn in countless kinds of ways. The prospect to learn is infinite. We are constantly learning whether we know we are learning or not. However, sometimes our likelihood of truly learning and getting a good education is deficient, or held at the gamble of a failing system. Two films, ‘Waiting for Superman’ directed by Davis Guggenheim (1), and ‘The Hobart Shakespearian’s’ directed by Mel Stuart (2), show two different aspects on the dwindling system called “education.”
The first public school in America was established by Puritan settlers in 1635 in the home of Schoolmaster Philemon Pormont. Boys from various socio-economic backgrounds attended Boston Latin School until 1972 when girls were also accepted (3). In the three-hundred and seventy-eight years since the schooling system first began, the quality of education have drastically decreased, students fail multiple courses, and even dropout from school completely. Since 1635 public schools have vastly grown in size and number in all areas of the country. Every child under the age of eighteen is entitled to attend a public school for free. So why is it that a vast majority of students today are not exceeding expectations, or completing the education they deserve? The films ‘Waiting for Superman’, and ‘The Hobart Shakespearian’s’, touches on the positive and negative effects of education on children today.
The film ‘Waiting for Superman’ shows the struggles of the many underprivileged schools across America. “For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians’ promises, our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children (5).” Children spend thirteen years of their lives continually attending an institution whose main goal is to teach the child the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully make it in the working world after. It is alarming when these children leave the system without knowing the basic knowledge expected. Rafe Esquith a fifth-grade teacher jokes “I've been in the classroom more than 20 years...some children should be left behind. (2)”
This issue ultimately raises the question of who is to blame. Is it that the children just do not have the motivation to learn and are not putting in the effort? Or is it that the teachers are not suitably teaching the children, do they lack the...