" Waiting for 'Superman'," Davis Guggenheim's theatric challenge to the American public education system will constantly replay in your mind long after you walk out of the theater doors.
Whose responsible for educating our children? Whose job is it to provide opportunities for kids to learn, grow and succeed?
Watching the challenges of the children in the film, I found myself pulled in different directions. I left the theater conflicted. Frustrated, yet hopeful.
Frustrated by the myopic solutions Guggenheim proposes. Teachers alone cannot solve the great challenges facing our schools and communities. Yet I am hopeful that with greater community involvement and partnerships we can make significant progress together.
On my office door there is a quote by Maya Angelou that reads, "Each child belongs to all of us and they will bring us a tomorrow in direct relation to the responsibility we have shown to them." You can't walk away from this film without reflecting on our roles as citizens in public education and responsibilities to the next generation of Americans.
Educational partnerships can be one of the keys to success in schools. At Rollins College we teach students from the first day they walk on campus that they have a responsibility to the communities where they live. Rollins students, faculty and staff partner with public schools and serve as volunteers, student teachers, mentors, and tutors.
Through these partnerships we've been fortunate to work with many schools, including Fern Creek Elementary in Orange County. Fern Creek, an "A" school, serves a population of historically and economically underserved children in our community. It not only has incredible teachers and administrators, but some of the strongest educational and business partnerships in Orlando.
Our partnership with the school has transformed the lives of children and teachers at Fern Creek, as well as students and faculty at Rollins. Mutually beneficial partnerships take time and talent on behalf of all involved, but have huge impacts on education and the lives of our kids. Teachers can't do it alone. Citizens, businesses and civic organizations need to start acting on their role and responsibility in educating children who might not be their own. We need to start looking into the mirror and ask ourselves how we can use our resources and skills to partner with educators to deliver the future of education.
I accept this challenge and invite others to reflect how they can get volunteers to make a positive impact on the future of education in Central Florida and beyond.
Micki Meyer is director of Rollins College's Office of Community Engagement.
My Word: Citizens as 'Superman'
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