Thursday, January 18, 2007

FREEDOM WRITERS ExposeThe Crisis In Our Schools

I went to the Westwood, California premiere of the new film Freedom Writers starring Hilary Swank. Actor and funnyman Danny DeVito produced this film that’s based on the true story of Long Beach California teacher Erin Gruwell and her somewhat rowdy students.

Already some of the teachers are complaining that this story is out of context to realty and that there was nothing-special going on in Gruwell’s class. I somehow expected that along with condemnation from the teacher’s unions where mediocrity in teaching is maintained at all cost.

I began to think about my own teachers in Chicago schools. There were the popular teachers but only a tiny percentage of them were in anyway inspiring. If teachers are not excited about the subjects they teach how the Hell can they inspire the kids they’re teaching? I could count the teachers who inspired me on two fingers. American teachers for the most part get a D or an F for inspiring their students.

Erin Gruewell different is different because of her energy, inspiration and the excitement she generates as a teacher. I was able to interview most of the stars of this film asking all of them the same question. The answers were the same. I pulled out young actor Dominic Daniel’s interview and put it here because it best proves my point. Actors all must be able to read and comprehend better than most people in order to play their parts well. Getting an agent and making it in Hollywood is a huge challenge. Those that succeed make millions. Wyatt is well into a great career and he told me very clearly how he arrived to this point.

Also I talked with Erin Gruwell herself and you can watch her respond to my questions.


leomemorial said...

I went to Robert L Grimes in Clearing. My grades were kick ass, and I was moved up a grade because of my teachers at that school. They really inspired me to do well in all my classes and personally (sports, etc). One time I started befriending a troublesome little girl, and my grades starting falling. They called my parents and I had to sit at the Principle's office. The Principle didn't tolerate any garbage and I sat on that red leather sofa right outside his office after I got a major scolding and waiting for my parents to arrive. That scared the hell out of me.

The school is still there...

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,
Just curious what Chicago high school you attended. I went to Bowen High School on east 89th Street myself. And I agree with your assessment on the quality of teachers. Probably 90%, if not more, didn't give a rats ass if their students learned anything. They would just get up in front of the class and read aloud what was in the text book. No wonder I kept banging my head on the desk, cause I'd fall asleep in class.

Crimefile said...

I went to St. Michael’s High School until my mother could not pay the tuition. They kicked me out and I went to Senn High School (Class of 1965).