Waiting for “Superman” (2010)
“The real causes of inequality come from the central public administration rather than the citizens”
The United States of America, the USA, a leading developed country in the world. The USA has developed in various fields, for instance, military, medical, and etc.. In addition, the stable and sufficient economy is also one of the greatest strengths of the USA. No one might not notice that the prosperity the USA showing to the global eyesight is hiding its putrid shameful fundamental foundation, like the “WORST EDUCATION”. Nowadays, there is a lot of movies which are produced for reflecting the education problem in the USA in order to raise up the government and Americans social awareness in term of improving and addressing the problem. Waiting for “Superman” (2010) is also an American educational problem reflected documentary movie. It perfectly tells the audiences the reliable facts of the broken educational system in the USA today. Importantly, the movie has left a touching sentence, “The only chance for kids to get in a great school depends on the number is picked on the lottery”, which definitely reflects an inequality which is one of many worst things happen in the American education system.
According to the 2017 International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic growth statistic shows that US economy is one of the top three strongest economic countries lists in the world. From the global economic statistic clearly proves that for the USA the economic movements are an important key factor for driving, developing, and pushing the country forward. Conversely, a huge number of the global educational research and assessment, especially the Programme For International Student Assessment (PISA) displays that the average of American student proficiency does not meet the minimum standards of 2015 PISA average scores. The global education assessment also clearly proves that the ineffective and inequality educational system is now becoming more serve in the USA. These educational criticals apparently cause the producing of the touching educational problem reflected movie named Waiting for “Superman” (2010). The meaningful sentence mentioned above comes from the most influential scene of this movie when one of the American students, Bianca, and Nakia (her mother), is waiting for Bianca’s name and her number to be called as the lottery for being a lucky student who will be accepted into a charter school. But at the result Bianca’s name and her number are not called at all, it means that the charter schools, which is one last best choice for the impoverished children, close their doors to the poor students, like her. This is an example of the inequality problems in field of education in the USA.
In the USA, the government supports and provides citizens a free public education in two types of school, as follows; public school supported and run by the government, and charter school supported by the government but run by private sector. Furthermore, we analyze the movie as well as do the research and we find out that even if now there are many public school and charter schools in the USA, but the number of the seats available for the new enrolling students is still not enough. It is highly competitive and quite hard for each American student to find and enter the school. And from the US Government-funded School Rankings (USGSR) also shows the a brutal fact that the quality of public school educational management is lower than the charter school’s. Meanwhile, many researchers define the public school as a “Dropout Factories”. From the enrolling and graduating student record of US Department of Education shows that in 2007 to 2017 the students in public school more than 72% cannot finish their course and they have to drop themselves out from schools. The main causes of their unsuccessfulness in education are from the lack of budget from their family, the inappropriate learning environment in classroom, ineffective curriculum and teaching management of the school, and etc.. For these reasons, the public school is now undoubtedly being called the dropout factories. What we mentioned about the badnesses of the public school can motivate the American students to escape themselves from the public schools, the place that obstructs their successfulness, and go ahead to a better, and more quality place to study, like the charter schools. Because of the number of students is so huge that the charter school cannot be supportable, in other words, the available seats for the new enrolling student are not much enough for all students, thus, the educational opportunity of American students has to end up with the luck of the draw in “The Admissions Lottery System”.
The Admissions Lottery System is a newcomer student selection system used in all charter schools in the USA. The processes of the system are that the students who want to enter in the charter school register themselves in the online application form. And then each students will receive their own number for being randomed in the admissions lottery System. Which number is called as a lottery will be offered an opportunity to enroll in the charter school. As you can see that the only chance for kids to get in a great school, like the charter school, depends on the number is picked on the lottery”. The meaning is that the charter schools are going to leave some children behind, like those who are not chosen by the admission lottery system. This kind of inequitable admission system definitely shows the discreditable inequality of educational opportunity in the USA. You may know that there are two groups of the student in this admission system as follows the group of those who get selected, and those who do not. It is absolutely not fair that those talented students at the same age are offered an unequal opportunity.
ฺTypically, it does not matter that those talented students are poor or not, but they all must be equal. In the same way, the random system also illustrates the big unacceptable gap between the richer and poorer in the USA. The choices of everything especially educational choice for those who are poor, their opportunity depends on the luck, are clearly unlike with those who are rich, their opportunity to enroll in the great private school is guaranteed by their dollar bills. As we intensively analyze the story, we recognize that the story indirectly presents this big social gap in the USA by just focusing only on the lives of the poor family in the movie. It tries to tells the audiences that the lives of the richer are always a bed of roses, their lives are very convenient, so we do not have to pay much attention to them. Conversely, the lives of the poorer are very arduous and inconvenient, so their lives are very necessary for us to pay more attention as well as lend them a hand. These examples of inequality are one of the lack of public welfare problems, which the US government must be responsible for. Meanwhile, the main cause of the public welfare problem, including the inequality of education in the fields of quality and opportunity, in the USA seems to be caused from the central public administration focusing on the economy first, or called Neoliberalism.
The Neoliberalism is one kind of economic policies. The Neoliberalism in the USA has begun from 1981 to present. There are 5 apparent processes in the Neoliberalism (UNC, 2009) as follows; 1) The rule of the market, the central public administration will liberate breakfree the enterprise or the private sectors from any contract imposed by the central administration, 2) The privatization, the central administration will sell the government-owned enterprises as well as the public services, including industries, railroads, electricity, hospitals, and schools, to the private sectors, 3) The eliminating the concept of the community responsibility, and it will be replaced it with individual responsibility, for example, the poor people in the USA have to address their lack of healthcare and education problems all by themselves without any help from the government. In other words, the government believes that all social problems come from the failure of individual rather than the failure of public administration, 4) The deregulation, the central public administration will reduce the regulation of everything that will decrease the government profits, including providing the public welfare, the free quality school, and etc., and 5) The cutting in public services in various fields, like public health care and free public education. As you can clearly see that the effects of the Neoliberalism are that the richer will continue to grow richer, and at the same time the poorer also continue to grow poorer. Moreover, the Neoliberalism seems to be a root cause of all inequality problems, especially in the educational field, happens in the USA.
In conclusion, The American educational problem reflected documentary movie named Waiting for “Superman” (2010) explicitly describes the real causes of all inequalities in various fields, for instance, the education, the gap between the richer and poorer, and etc., in the USA are all caused by 5 apparent processes in the Neoliberalism, the central public administration based on the country’s economy growth. The Neoliberalism seems to be the great important key factor of the USA inequality’s beginning. As you can see that the government with the Neoliberalism is going to reduce, and cut all public services, including public welfare, social safety net, free quality public basic education, and etc., which can decrease the government and private sectors profits. In particular, the free quality public basic education in public school and charter school are together get the full negative impact from the Neoliberalism, for example, the government decreases or cuts the educational supporting budget for these schools, it affects and interrupts the improvement of these school so they cannot be supportable for the huge number of the poor talented students. The resolution for addressing the inequality problem the US government provided is using The Admissions Lottery System, an inequitable and unfair student entrance system. The resolution the government advised does not help to address the equality problem at all, but emphasizes the suffering and distress of the poorer to be worse and feel extremely disappointed. Moreover, the ineffective resolution also highlights the unacceptable big gap between the richer and poorer in the USA. Lastly, the movie is now trying to be all US citizens representative to shout out that the inequality educational problems are the big challenges of the USA need to be addressed immediately.
“THE INEQUALITY PROBLEM IS COMPLEX BUT THE STEPS ARE SIMPLE”, Saharat Laksanasut (2017)
สหรัฐ ลักษณะสุต (Saharat Laksanasut, Educational Researcher)