Last night I watched American Promise, the documentary created by two parents who believed their son would be destined for greatness, all because of getting into one of the top private schools in the country. They then decided to film their son and a few of their classmates in-depth (although only one student remained in the documentary the whole time) from kindergarten until they both go off to college at 18.
The key here is that they do in fact both go to college. They also stay out of major trouble. Their parents are not super rich, but not poor and undereducated either. Yet, it illustrated all the unknown and unexpected factors that can go into one’s education. It also demonstrated that successful schools and successful people (all four parents went to public schools, yet had professional jobs, nice homes and happy families), come from all walks of life.
It also illustrated how wrong the modern high-stakes education system can be for some kids. Obviously, we could bring race into it, but honestly, it had more to do with the personalities of the two boys featured. First of all, it had to be weird having a camera stuck in your face for all of your school years. Second, who wants to tell their parents about their social life? Third, is success only going to an Ivy League school, getting super high grades and being certain careers? Oh and both boys had valid learning disabilities, which I believe our current system still doesn’t know how to handle in any child.
Back to the ideal of success being in one box, I don’t think this is true, as I look back on my educational experience too. If I frame it like these parents did in the beginning, then yeah, me not attending a private school, getting into an Ivy League school, getting into all the schools I applied for (I did do this, but the students featured did not), and not having super high grades, but pinpointing a career path would be a failure. Yet, these kids(and I) got into colleges, one had a clear career in mind(as did I) and the other is going to a school where our current president attended and started himself on the path to greatness he’s on now( I didn’t, but I still have dreams).
I think every parent, especially those who are working to climb social ladders and those who are already upper class and sort of coast on their money should see this film and realize, that sometimes, all you can do is provide and nurture, then see what comes of it.
The documentary is online until March 5. Click here to watch. And now, your Friday news:
North Carolina cities have some of the highest number of uninsured, even after the Affordable Care Act.
Guilford County Commissioners voted on several property tax changes last night at their meeting.
Election officials statewide are preparing for the voter ID laws to go in effect.
The civil rights museum is still struggling to manage its affairs.
Food stamp application backlogs in Forsyth County have been reduced.
The Krispy Kreme Challenge turns 10 tomorrow.
US And World Roundup
Can a mayor really be Robin Hood?
Issues with Denver’s public transit workers pensions illustrate similar troubles nationwide.
This town is building its life around sheep.
Louisville becomes the second Kentucky town to add a food coordinator to its city government.
Bike lovers, get your own .bike website, starting today.
Brazil is handing out “culture stamps” to the poor.
Transit expert Jarrett Walker on what’s really keeping transit from being an all day service.