Most of us believed in Superman growing up—the famous comic book character that always seemed to appear when needed most—with whatever it took to save the day. For children in poverty the proverbial Superman is us—and they are waiting—desperately.
“They didn’t pick me” said the once bright-eyed little boy who was hoping for one of the limited ‘good school’ slots that meant hope for the future. A grandmother cries as the last lottery ball rolls out—showing a number not matching hers—it equates to an educational death sentence for an ambitious child at her side. Small children try to manage brave faces and caring adults weep openly—the system has failed them—and in most cases their fate is sealed.
Gut-wrenching quotes and lump-in-the-throat-producing images are what most people got from the Waiting for ‘Superman’ screening on Wednesday afternoon—a group of Club members and invited adults braved blizzard conditions to watch the controversial documentary—part of our local National Boys & Girls Club Week celebration. Most adults realize the world isn’t perfect and some kids have a tough climb on the ladder of educational success—but ‘Superman’ suggests many of the rungs are missing—a tragic situation that will ruin our nation if left in disrepair.
While there are differences of opinion on how to ‘fix’ public education—teaching effectiveness, system leadership, funding, policy, out-of-school-time efforts and more must all be considered—one cannot argue the (further) disastrous results if we don’t figure it out. Right now there are millions of kids in poverty around this nation who basically have no chance given the system they are in—anybody got a cape?