The United States is the richest country in the world, and yet, compared to the 26 developed countries in the world, ranks last in mathematics and fourth to last in reading. David Guggenheim’s documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” shines a light on why many of America’s public school systems produce such disappointing results.
This year, the Obama administration launched “Race to the Top,” a program designed to spark education reform and effective teaching practices by awarding states who make significant improvements in their education systems with a federal grant. Around the nation, teaching quality and student preparation have become a major concern as schools face increasing scrutiny.
First Lady Michelle Obama has taken serious charge in attempting to slim down America’s youth. However, she is not alone in her efforts to do so—school systems around the nation are also fighting to lessen childhood obesity.
Abeles’ documentary was inspired by the 2008 suicide of 13-year-old Devon Marvin who took her own life due to school-related stress. Soon after, Abeles’ two children—one in elementary school, one in middle school—came home with stomach and headaches. They were tired and irritable and faced the early symptoms of childhood depression. The film follows her kids and six others aging from middle school to college through their trying academic experiences.
Sherwood did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the 2009-2010 school year. AYP is a measure of academic performance established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Three subgroups within the school, Hispanic, Limited English Proficient (LEP), and Free and Reduced Meal Students (FARMS) all failed to meet the minimum participation requirement in reading, and the LEP subgroup fell short of satisfactory reading proficiency. Additionally, the FARMS, Special Education and African American subgroups met reading proficiency by margins of three or less students.
Recently the United States and countries in Europe moved toward the right end of the political spectrum. This shift has been primarily influenced by the global economic downturn, but this swing to the right varies on each end of the Atlantic.
The military enacted the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) in 1993. The policy forbids openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the U.S. Armed Services, but does not allow the military to require soldiers to declare their sexual orientation. However, controversy has arisen from soldiers’ orientations being investigated if superiors suspect they are gay or lesbian. There have been several attempts to repeal this policy, but so far all have failed.