"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Missouri State Legislators Invited to Private Screening of "Waiting for Superman". Question: Who is the Organizer of the Event?

Several taxpayers representing Missouri Education Watchdog and other groups were visiting senators and representatives in Jeff City about educational matters, and we noticed “Waiting for Superman” movie notices in their offices. We asked a legislative assistant if he/she was going to go see it, and the LA indicated “it was a private screening for the legislators”.

We went to the “Waiting for Superman” website and did confirm there is a private screening for this group and others connected to state government agencies:

This is from School Choice Week:


Event Type:

National School Choice Week Event


1614 Jefferson St.
Jefferson City, MO 65109


Monday, Jan 24 06:00PM


3 Hours

A Private Screening for State Legislators, Government Officials and

Community Leaders. Discussion panel to follow screening.

This is a private event, you must have an invitation to register for this event

« Back to Events

If you follow this blog, we believe “Waiting for Superman” does have some valid points:

· It is unconscionable children are caught in failing schools;

· Teacher unions make it difficult to rid schools of poor teachers;

· Charter schools can offer an alternative to some of these children.

What the movie doesn’t address are some of these facts:

· Mandated curriculum stifles innovation and true education;

· Common core standards do not allow adaptation, and in fact, the mandates are more restrictive than “No Child Left Behind”;

· Many of the charter schools starting up are financed by hedge fund investors and venture capitalists who know nothing about the education of children.

What do the groups who are concerned about the questions the movie doesn’t address want the Missouri legislators to know?

· If charters schools are to be expanded in Missouri, which we support, there must be an exemption for these schools from the common core standards. In fact, we ask for the revocation of the common core vote by the State Board of Education for ALL educational institutions—private, home school, virtual, and public school;

· Charters must not be funded by hedge fund companies and venture capitalists. These schools MUST, by law, be Missouri based and not-for-profit, there must be some local control;

· The legislators must understand one main problem faced in schools may not be so much the teachers, but rather the oppressive mandates from the Federal Government. The current plan in front of the Missouri Senate, Educated Citizenry 2020, is practically identical to Race to the Top, which is filled with mandates and loss of local control;

· Parental choice means true choice, not just a move to one location to another that has the same curriculum and same mandates. This is not a valid choice;

· Any unfunded mandates created by common core standards MUST be defunded. In the Education Budget Committee meeting on January 19, 2011, several of us heard from a non-partisan accounting employee the bad news: Missouri is facing an approximate $900,000,000 shortfall in Education next year. As we are dealing with $500,000,000 shortfall this year, we cannot afford a plan such as Educated Citizenry 2020;

· The Legislature must take authority away from DESE to make educational decisions which throw the state into unfunded debt without legislative oversight.

We ask the legislators, as they watch this movie, to keep these thoughts in mind. The movie is indeed, very moving and everyone detests the situations these children face. But “Waiting for Superman” is a movie. And movies sometimes skew the facts to make their points. Watch the first 10 minutes or so and watch the map displayed in the movie with all the cities targeted, and Guggenheim (the director) talks about “all the local laws and municipalities involved in school decisions” or words to that effect, intimating that local districts are hindering educational progress. That’s how schools are supposed to operate. The failure of education may have NOTHING to do with localities operating their schools as they are charged to by their state constitutions. They are supposed to have local and state autonomy and not be mandated by federal rules or state consortiums.

We wish we could arrange a private time for the legislators to listen to the other side of the story. Regarding education, we would ask the legislators for:

· True parental rights and parental control

· True and fair competition for charters

· Decentralization of the federal government in state educational matters

If you are in Missouri contact your legislator and ask his/her position on school choice and if he/she approves or common core standards. And ask who is organizing this event. Why isn't this listed? If you google "Waiting for Superman" many of the special screenings show the organizer. Most of these screenings show the organizers in those listings; they are governors' offices, Chambers of Commerce, and charter school organizations, to name a few. If the Jefferson City showing is being sponsored by a special interest group, ask the legislator what agenda that group may have in showing this movie to the legislators. Why is the organizer not advertising its interest in sponsoring this movie for our lawmakers?

And one more question: why aren't parents and taxpayers invited to this showing? They are the ones providing their children and their money for this plan. They are the groups most directly impacted (after the children) by the decisions of DESE and the Legislature.


  1. Hey Missouri Education Watchdog,

    I don't know if you know it, but you made national news, see the Education Week article link below. You are being recognized for your effort to encourage Missouri's legislators to follow the leads of Utah and New Hampshire. Their legislators are sharp, they truly get it. They are not going to be duped by all the media hype.

    Here is the link: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/01/backing_away_from_common_stand.html

    Keep up the good work. You have a lot of supporters in the conservative and tea party movements around the country.

  2. Just remember - Charter Schools can pick and choose their students. Public schools are charged with educating EVERY child that comes through their doors, whether that child wants to be in school or not.


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