The most recent international achievement tests place US 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in mathematics among 70 countries.
As Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg invest millions of dollars into the US education system, the question now becomes: how can this money be allocated to return the US public education system to the top in the world? What needs to change and how? One group of people who would know is teachers. During my alternative spring break, “The Education Question: A Documentary,” we interviewed teachers and visited schools around Palo Alto and Oakland including Eastside College Prep, a Rocketship school in San Jose, and Willard Middle School.
Creating this film is a modern, valuable way to convey our message to a wider range of people. There is a common saying: “Those who can’t, teach.” In other words, teaching is an easy job and anyone from a research scientist to a construction worker can teach a class of students. However, this is not the case. With our documentary, we hope to demonstrate that teaching is not simple. A great, even a good, teacher does not simply sit at a desk reading a newspaper throughout the whole class. Sure we can all remember some bad teachers in our past, but we know that not all of our teachers were bad. We know that most teachers tried to teach and effectively manage their classroom. A good teacher works outside of the classroom by staying afterschool to assist their students, collaborating with other teachers to improve their lesson plans, and using their vacation time to evaluate the year and improve their lesson plans accordingly. Our documentary will add to the discussion of the rewards and challenges of teachers in and outside of the classroom.
IDA+CBPA highlights the role of art and culture in creating aesthetic and social change. We will use art to affect social change by presenting the challenges that teachers encounter and cause a shift in societal values about the role of teachers.