To the Editor:
The film “Waiting for ‘Superman’” portrays students as victims of the public education system. I disagree with this message because I believe I am not a victim, but a youth leader who is working with other youths to make a positive change in our school system.
As a youth leader with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, or VOYCE, a citywide coalition, my vision is for all students to be able to get a high-quality education at their neighborhood public schools. That means creating a system that creates supportive relationships among students and school staff, building an environment where all students feel safe to participate, and making sure all students take challenging classes that prepare them for college and careers.
“Waiting for ‘Superman’” sends the message that a few adults have all the answers to the problems that young people face in our schools. This approach of adults making the decisions for our school system has been happening forever, yet here in Chicago we still lose 50 percent of our students to dropping out.
Young people are the ones facing the problems—who knows better than us what resources we need to improve our education system? “Waiting for ‘Superman’” misses the opportunity to show how young people are the key to education reform. Young people are capable of doing much more than just waiting for the lottery number that matches their ticket.
Class of 2010
Kelvyn Park High School
A version of this article appeared in the November 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as This Youth Leader Not “Waiting for Superman”