An Inconvenient Truth: Waiting for “Superman” to Save Education is akin to Waiting for Godot

Time magazine asked an important question last week: “What makes a school great?”

Devoting many pages of deadwood to bemoaning the current state of K-12 education in America, Time reports:

Waiting for “Superman” is a new film about America’s malfunctioning education system by Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, a movie that took on another mind-numbingly complex issue and, confounding all logic, grossed $50 million worldwide — and changed the way many Americans think about climate change.

Scheduled to be released on Sept. 24, Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary that follows five kids and their parents as they try to escape their neighborhood public schools for higher-performing public charter schools. The movie explains how it could be that the U.S. since 1971 has more than doubled the money it spends per pupil, yet still trails most rich nations in science and math scores. 

 SBPDL picked up the book companion to the movie Waiting for “Superman” while traveling and realized that regardless of the money, time and effort exerted,  a majority of students will always look up at the sky awaiting the arrival of an academic Superman to impart knowledge upon them.

Not even the Justice League of America could provide positive intervention at this point to uplift failing students, and yet the continued allocation of available educational resources (both public and private) are spent and dispensed trying to close the proverbial Grand Canyon, er, racial gap in scholastic achievement. 

After finishing Waiting for “Superman” it became apparent that the ultimate inconvenient truth that few wish to acknowledge is the pattern of failure that accompanies one group wherever they reside in the United States. 

It’s not bad schools that create, by osmosis, bad students; its bad students performing poorly on standardized tests, disrupting classes repeatedly requiring expulsion; and a lack of parental involvement that ensures the maintenance of bad schools.

No matter how many Ivy League graduates enter the ranks of Teach for America and attempt to impart knowledge on would-be professional athletes, Superman from his Fortress of Solitude will refuse to intervene on behalf of those who are cognitively disinclined into perpetuity.  

Many children would have better luck Waiting for Godot than Waiting for “Superman” as no amount of money, praying or divine intervention by highly educated Crusading White Pedagogues will bring about an academic revolution where it is biologically impossible to transpire.  The racial gap will remain, while intellectuals and education specialists masquerading as Vladimir and Estragon debate the next breakthrough in teaching that will finally level the playing field, ushering an era of scholastic equality.
Whenever such an innovation appears that threatens to remove the inequities – the source of such difference is anything but nature – the odds are overwhelming that fraud is a close-associate. Well, either fraud or a colossal dumbing-down of the test to ensure everyone passes.
You see, in Black Run America (BRA) the pursuit of life and liberty is superseded by the ceaseless quest of enhancing Black happiness. Every amount of energy must be expended to close the racial gap in learning, since education is a barometer of success. After all, why must Black people continue to suffer the indignity of working as barbers and postal employees in such high numbers?

 An inconvenient truth confronting those who made Waiting for “Superman” is simply this: Waiting on “Lex Luthor” makes more sense. The arch-nemesis of Superman, it would take a man of Luthor’s integrity to admit the truth that not everyone is capable of producing grades worthy of admittance to college; learning advanced trigonometry or understanding quantum physics; and that some people will be left behind, no matter the effort exerted.
Not everyone has the scholastic aptitude or intelligence to learn at the same rate and many of those left behind become a general nuisance to the overall learning environment and distract those who yearn for education.
It’s time to realize that no amount of nurture can supplant the injustices of nature, regardless of the amount of private and public money provided or time and tutelage volunteered. However, a recent book by Stuart Buck argues that desegregation spawned a culture that finds the malady of acting white synonymous with excelling at school:

But suppose integration doesn’t change the culture of underperformance? What if integration inadvertently created that culture in the first place? This is the startling hypothesis of Stuart Buck’s Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation. Buck argues that the culture of academic underachievement among black students was unknown before the late 1960s.

It was desegregation that destroyed thriving black schools where black faculty were role models and nurtured excellence among black students. In the most compelling chapter of Acting White, Buck describes that process and the anguished reactions of the black students, teachers, and communities that had come to depend on the rich educational and social resource in their midst.


Buck draws on empirical studies that suggest a correlation between integrated schools and social disapproval of academic success among black students. He also cites the history of desegregation’s effect on black communities and interviews with black students to back up a largely compelling—and thoroughly disturbing—story.

 If this hypothesis is correct, then we have spent perhaps more than a quadrillion dollars for naught. Then again, Black people in North Carolina regard any attempt of the ending of forced busing a harbinger of the reinstitution of academic segregation, which a Black intellectual argues was a net positive for Black education:

Protesters and police scuffled Tuesday at a school board meeting in North Carolina over claims that a new busing system would resegregate schools, roiling racial tensions reminiscent of the 1960s.


Nineteen people were arrested, including the head of state NAACP chapter who was banned from the meeting after a trespassing arrest at a June school board gathering.
“We know that our cause is right,” the Rev. William Barber said shortly before police put plastic handcuffs on his wrists before the meeting started.


Inside, more than a dozen demonstrators disrupted the meeting by gathering around a podium, chanting and singing against the board’s policies.


After several minutes, Raleigh police intervened and asked them to leave. When they refused, the officers grabbed arms and tried to arrest the protesters. One child was caught in the pushing and shoving, as was school board member Keith Sutton, who was nearly arrested before authorities realized who he was.


“Hey, hey, ho, ho, resegregation has got to go,” some protesters chanted.

SBPDL proposes we no longer practice Waiting for “Superman,” for this is as absurd an action as Waiting for Godot. We should instead practice Waiting for Meteor Man, an authentically Black protagonist who has amazing superpowers that would help bridge the racial gap:

Jefferson Reed is a mild mannered school teacher in Washington D.C.. His neighborhood is terrorized by a local gang called the Golden Lords. One night, Jeff steps in to rescue a woman from the gang, only to end up running from them himself. Hiding in a garbage dumpster, he manages to escape, and as he climbs out of it, he is struck down by a glowing green meteorite which crashes down from the sky. His spine is crushed and he receives severe burns. A small fragment of the meteor was left over and was taken by a silent vagrant (Bill Cosby). Reed awakens several days later in the hospital, but when his bandages are taken off, he is miraculously healed from all his injuries.


Jeff soon discovers the meteorite has left him with other abilities too, such as flight, x-ray vision, superhuman strength, invulnerability, healing powers, absorb a book’s content by touch, freezing breath, telepathy with dogs and telekinesis. Confiding this to his parents (Robert Guillaume and Marla Gibbs), he is convinced by them to use his powers to try and help the community. His mother designs a costume for him, and as The Meteor Man, he takes on the Golden Lords and their leader Simon Caine (Roy Fegan). He shuts down a crack house, stops a robbery, and unites the Crips, Bloods and the police.


Perhaps it’s Meteor Man that Washington DC Black voters want to run their city schools, instead of that Asian lady. Problem: Meteor Man can only remember a book’s content for 30-seconds after touching it, so his tutelage on matters concerning the SAT/ACT/LSAT/MCAT/GMAT wouldn’t be exactly prodigious.
Getting back to the question posed by Time, we can only provide the following answer: schools in these areas.

What do you think?

We’ll keep Waiting for Meteor Man while Disingenuous White Liberals, Crusading White Pedagogues and the entire education establishment keeps looking out for Godot.

We understand he provides the key to finally eradicating the racial gap in education.

About SBPDL

Stuff Black People Don't Like (formerly SBPDL.com) has moved to SBPDL.net!
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