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update: I’m still here!

Bull Market - sculpture at Toronto-Dominion Ce...

Bull Market – sculpture at Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A permanent fixture in the grassy courtyard of the office complex, “The Pasture” by sculptor Joe Fafard comprises seven lifelike bronze cows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The end of this school year saw me jettison some things. The first to go was my prolific blogging both here and on blogcritics. I can’t say I don’t miss it. It did not pay here nor there. So I thought I would make my own money. I opened a stock account and as reporting now and again–it’s going gangbusters.

I have doubled my initial 10K startup. Correction: I did a quick and dirty look at the withdrawals from my porfolio and they come to 11K, and I still have 15K of stock left. So if I sold every position now, I would actually be ahead a whopping 15,000 since January 2013!

I was only in the market to make a little money as in interest on account that I was not getting and this bull market happened on my way to making a little interest.

Everyone is scratching their heads over this market. I am ringing the register with glee.

I know I’ve met the person I was looking for to complete my story. Things are not going smoothly or as expected so I have nothing to say about this meeting except that we met.

Cool, Calm and Collected advice to Obama

walmart beijing

walmart beijing (Photo credit: galaygobi)

You can be tough as well as cool, calm and collected as Heloise is when confronted with crazy people.  Why just the other day Heloise proved to be just that, i.e., cool not crazy.  I was shopping when a big black woman tried to squeeze by my shopping cart at Wal Mart where I was standing (to the right) and waiting for my daughter to pay for her items.

She said “excuse me.” I said “I ain’t moving.” She got ugly and started to push past me but realized she was too fat.  She said “I said EXCUSE me.”  Well the only time that’s appropriate is if we both got to the same spot at the same time.  This was clearly not the case…I was there first and not in the way of traffic.  I think the woman with her squeezed by just before.  I just ignored her. 

Yes, I stood my ground and said walking is like driving you should stay to your right.  She got really mad.  That’s how you can tell you’re right.

She said some crap I could not hear because I don’t hear too well anymore.  My daughter said she said something like she would sweep the floor up with me.  But I no hear her and that’s a good thing.  That helped me to remain cool and carry on. 

Then another day I was shopping wearing baggy unpressed shorts and an unpressed red T shirt with a black sun visor that said “Chicago” on it and a bright blue fanny pack and my big floppy bike riding sandals.

This old white woman asked a couple of times, I didn’t hear her and was not listening “do you work here?” Cool as you could be I gave her a good look at my whole outfit and said “do I look like I work HERE?”  She said oh I am so sorry.  What she saw was my BROWN skin! Liar.

Advice to Obama you too can remain cool, calm and collected if you act like you did not hear half of what people say about you.

Here are some of my stock picks

SIRI=sirius has the potential of going big. I usually check with about five different sites before I decide like “seeking alpha” “Barrons” and Reuters.   So I stocked up on Sirius because it is under 2.00 I think. It’s my radio stock.  But I went with Al Gore and his Centinel back when and then the dude got sued for 75 M I think and of course the stock went to zero.

No matter because Al Gore is now super rich because he invested and is on the board with some of the richest Jewish and non Jewish geeks in the tech biz i.e., Facebook, Google and Apple.  However his own company which was some kind of radio plus there was the TV station but the stock was for the radio station .

Something about Fridays: that is actually a good day to buy stocks because the prices drop on that day as sellers are getting money for the weekend or something.  I am not taking my own advice on this as I should but this Friday the gains on the Dow and Nasdaq did hold so that’s a good sign.

I could have gotten all the stocks I have now if I had bought when the Dow did that big drop a short while back.  Here’s one way the 99% can strike back–with stocks!

GE = General Electric

Disney= DIS

Dreamworks

BAC – Bank of America

F = Ford

AMZ= Amazon

AUQ= a gold mining company out of Mexico that sounds promising

a new stock relatively SIRI see above note

Yahoo

Cisco

Oracle

I got burned on the Microsoft and Yahoo last time.  I did not buy Micro because it seems stuck in the 20-dollar range forever lately.  I lost on Micro last time.  Lost on Yahoo but got a few stocks cheaper.  BAC was just too cheap to resist.  I think I paid like 5.02 per share at the last batch but more like six something on the first go round.  But obviously the short or long sellers took their cut but the BAC is back on the rise.

U.S. stocks closed near flat Friday as investors considered a drop in America’s jobless rate and the ongoing European debt crisis. Friday’s mixed trade came after this week’s bullish winning streak. The Dow had its biggest weekly point jump in three years.

After a sharp jump, stocks came off their highs as investors assessed the jobs report. This morning, the Labor Department said the U.S. gained 120,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.0%. The government also revised jobs data for October and September to show that 72,000 additional jobs were created over the two months. Private-sector hiring in November reached 140,000, the agency calculated. http://seekingalpha.com/article/311578-dow-posts-biggest-weekly-gain-in-3-years

Heloise BC writer of the week

A big thank you to the editors at Blogcritics.

 

 BC Writer of the Week Heloise

Heloise

the link above will take you to my many and latest articles and reviews.

Who I ain’t voting for by Heloise aka the perfect candidate

OBAMAS  MARXIST ADMINISTRATION ON DISPLAY FOR ...

Image by SS&SS via Flickr

This is my guide to great voting.  You can take it as satire but really if you found this white man you would have the next president and it would be a successful presidency too.  I mean provided he met all the other requirements like name recognition.  If you stack up somelike say Bill Clinton you will see that he fits all these items to a T.   The two that Obama fails is his lineage, or lack of one.  And he is too liberal.  What about women? I am not saying no in the future but the problem with a woman would be the unelectible part because she does not have name recognition.  Or it would be gained through a white male candidate…witness Sarah Palin.  Left to her own devices no one would have ever heard of little Sarah.  Enough said?

I ain’t voting for:

I posted My list to daily beast as the perfectcandidate and newt picked it up and he surged in polls.

NO POLITICAL NEOPHYTES…LOOK WHAT IT GOT US

NO BODY TOUTING  ‘I AM A UNITER’  THAT’S WHAT HITLER SAID AND LOOK WHAT HE DID TO GERMANY….

ANYBODY FROM TEXAS…TOO RACIST…TOO IN LOVE WITH MEXICANS AND ILLEGALS

NO FREAKING RINOs…LIKE PERRY AND ROMNEY

NO MORMONS….LIKE NO MORMONS

NO FAT PEOPLE….

NO WOMEN…BLACK OR WHITE

NO RACISTS…

NO ONE WITH TOO MANY KIDS i.e., MORE THAN THREE

NO ONE WHOSE PARENTS AND BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS WERE NOT BORN IN THIS COUNTRY…

NO JEWS….TOO LIBERAL….TOO IN LOVE WITH ILLEGALS AND BRINGING IN FOREIGN STUDENTS TO FILL THE LIBERAL UNIVERSITIES (factor in 9/11 IMO)

THAT DOES LEAVE OUT OBAMA, THE INCUMBENT AND JUST ABOUT EVERY GOP CONTENDER…

I CAN’T SEE THE GUY FROM MY FRONT PORCH.

BC Editor’s Pick–Movie Review: The Debt (2011)

Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean sea in t...

Image via Wikipedia

Another remake! Wait. You haven’t seen this movie before I promise. The Debt is a remake based on the screenplay of a little-known (at least to me) 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov. John Madden’s film presents a fictional Mossad showdown between three Nazi hunters and one surgeon Dr. Dieter Vogel, AKA the Surgeon of Birkenau, based on the real and infamous Dr. Mengele. While Israel can’t bring back the lives lost in the Holocaust they can hunt down and put on trial men like Vogel who escaped the dragnets and fates of other Nazi officials.

According to the film, a Mossad cell is formed made up of two men and one woman who follow orders from above. It is really a labor of love. They are human and make mistakes, lots of them: the Bonnie and Clyde gang of espionage. The screw-up, the lie, and the cover up converge in spine-tingling suspense that bring this thriller to a rapid boil.

The action takes place in the agents’ hideout and on the streets of East Berlin. Enter Rachel the redhead, and the two men are smitten, it’s love at first fight. We watch the trio train, throw punches and each other inside their tiny leaky apartment waiting for the “green light” to begin a super-secret mission to capture Dr. Vogel and bring him to Israel to stand trial. In the meantime David dances with the devil. But David is especially vulnerable when discussions veer into tender territory that pushes this tough guy to a breaking point that eventually unravels the mission; thereby creating “the debt.” I left this film thinking, “Damn, that was a good movie.”

This crowd pleaser has something for everybody including spy girl Jessica Chastain. She plays the 25-year-old version of Rachel Singer sharing the role with evergreen Helen Mirren who plays the mature and retired Mossad agent. In the opening scenes we watch Mirren, whose daughter has written a book in the present (well 1997 present) about the hunt and capture of Dr. Vogel, read a few pages from Chapter 11 at the book’s launch. From that reading the flashbacks begin in earnest for Singer but we don’t know exactly why she is looking back. When we are taken to the 1967 mission we find two men Stephan (Marton Csokas) and David (Sam Worthington) waiting for Agent Singer (Jessica Chastain) a talented translator new to the field.

Enter Rachel the red head and the two men are smitten, its love at first fight. We watch the trio train, throw punches and each other inside their tiny leaky apartment waiting for the “green light” to begin a super-secret mission to capture Dr. Vogel and bring him to Israel to stand trial. In the meantime David dances with the devil. But David is especially vulnerable when discussions veer into tender territory that pushes this tough guy to a breaking point that eventually unravels the mission; thereby creating “the debt.” I left this film thinking. “Damn, that was a good movie.”

Fits and starts mark the first hours of the agents’ mission and it has a messy ending to boot. I wouldn’t erase or change a word of the screenplay because as written and directed it yields a taut, adrenaline pumping matrix. Since the story is fiction we know that some embellishment went on and that the trio did not return to a hero’s welcome in Israel as the film pretends. On the other hand–hats off to director John Madden for making not the best Jewish film of the year but one of the best films of the year using flashbacks and flash-forwards that are seamless yet provocative–drawing the viewer in and onto the edge of their seat. These agents are given a license to thrill as well as kill boredom.The Debt is more than a thriller because the audience gets an emotional stake in the outcome with close-ups and intimate moments between the three agents and their war criminal that amount to great story telling. John Madden has a long-awaited 104-minute hit on his hands and one that I applaud and would watch again and again. I give it 4-1/2 stars.

 

First published at: http://blogcritics.org/video/article/movie-review-the-debt-2011/page-2/#ixzz1X2qe3kyz

Golden Globe Winners and Losers–The Social Network wins best pic

first published: http://blogcritics.org/video/article/golden-globes-winners-and-losers/page-1/

Here is the Official Golden Globes site where you can click to follow any favorite category on twitter and preview all the nominations and categories. Ricky Gervais will be hosting the festivities.

Tonight the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will present the Golden Globes to the nominees announced this past December. At the top of the roll is the Cecil B. DeMille award to Robert DeNiro. 

There are few silver screen luminaries as bright as DeNiro.  At age 67 he has won 8 Golden Globes awards, two Academy Awards and the Kennedy Center Honor.  The DeMille award recognizes contribution to entertainment and past winners include: Martin Scorsese, Barbra Streisand, Al Pacino and Michael Douglas. The winners will be announced tonight and we know there can only be one winner in each category. But we can also talk about how and why that winner was chosen.  I think that only you can decide who was snubbed.  Let’s begin with a rundown of the top awards:

Best Performance–actor supporing role/drama: Christian Bale – The Fighter; Michael Douglas – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Andrew Garfield – The Social Network; Jeremy Renner – The Town; Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech.

Winner: Christian Bale — he was long-winded too.

Best Motion Picture–Drama nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter. Inception, The King’s Speech and  The Social Network.

The winner: The Social Network

Best Performance Dramatic–actress: Halle Berry – Frankie and Alice; Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone; Natalie Portman – Black Swan; Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine.

The winner: Natalie Portman

The Golden Globe for best actor, comedy or musical goes to Paul Giamatti in “Barney’s Version”

Best Performance Dramatic–actor: Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network; Colin Firth – The King’s Speech; James Franco – 127 Hours; Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine; Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter.

The winner: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech

Best Performance–actress supporting role/drama: Amy Adams – The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech; Mila Kunis – Black Swan; Melissa Leo – The Fighter; Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

Winner: Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Best Motion Picture comedy or musical Alice in Wonderland, Burlesque. The Kids Are All Right, Red, The Tourist

The winner: The Kids Are All Right…no surprise there. It was a good movie saw it on DVD.

Best performance actress in a comedy or musical: Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right; Anne Hathaway – Love & Other Drugs; Angelina Jolie – The Tourist; Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right; Emma Stone – Easy A

Winner: Annette Bening — Heloise predicted it with “The Buzz is with Bening”

Best performance by an actor–comedy or musical: Johnny Depp – Alice in Wonderland; Johnny Depp – The Tourist; Paul Giamatti – Barney’s Version; Jake Gyllenhaal – Love & Other Drugs; Kevin Spacey – Casino Jack

Winner: Paul Giamatti

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan; David Fincher – The Social Network; Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech; Christopher Nolan – Inception; David O. Russell – The Fighter.

Winner: David Fincher The Social Network

Best supporting actor: Christian Bale The Fighter.

Winner: TBA

Best Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle – 127 Hours; Christopher Nolan Inception; Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko – The Kids Are All Right; David Seidler – The King’s Speech; Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network.

Winner: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

Best original score: Alexandre Desplat – The King’s Speech; Danny Elfman – Alice in Wonderland; A. R. Rahman – 127 Hours;Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network; Hans Zimmer – Inception.

Winner:

Best supporting actor TV series: Chris Colfer in Glee.

Best Television series: Boardwalk Empire (HBO); Dexter (SHOWTIME); The Good Wife (CBS); Mad Men (AMC); The Walking Dead (AMC).

Winner: Boardwalk Empire

Best Performance by actress in television series: Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife (CBS); Elisabeth Moss – Mad Men (AMC); Piper Perabo – Covert Affairs; Katey Sagal – Sons Of Anarchy; Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (TNT).

Winner: Katey Sagal

Best Performance by actor in television series: Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire (HBO); Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad; Michael C. Hall –Dexter (SHOWTIME); Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC); Hugh Laurie –House (FOX).

Winner:  Steve Buscemi

Best song: You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me from Burlesque. The only good thing about this film.  Cher sang it too.

Best Foreign language film: In A Better World (Denmark)

Best animated featured film: Winner Toy Story 3 

Best actor in a TV movie or mini series: Al Pacino for “You Don’t Know Jack” as he portrayed Jack Kavorkian. He was bad ass for real.

Claire Danes for “Temple Grandin” as best actress in a mini series or TV movie.

Best supporting actress in a TV miniseries winner: Jane Lynch for Glee

Jim Parsons best actor in a TV series or musical or comedy in his role in The Big Bang Theory (never watch it)

************************ 

Golden Globe Red Carpet: Will it be what was she wearing or what was she thinking? Before the show there will be an hour-long red carpet special. You can add your comments here. What you like, what worked, who worked it and how the hotties keep it hot. We want to hear from you. The look this awards season is the off-the-shoulder long gown, pastel color. It works well for most figures and faces. In my comments below I’ve noted the “what was she thinking” candidates. Jesse Eisenberg just pulled up in the limo. He was also in Holy Rollers this year. He played an orthodox Jew who does some illegal and orthodox drug running using other orthodox Jews. Strategy: customs will never suspect the religious. Good film, no Network but worth a look on streaming Netflix.

Shock and awe?  The mention of The Tourist in category for best musical or comedy is shocking IMO. But it did not come out of the blue but out of the mind of director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. After a pre-screening others agreed that the film was preposterous enough for billing as a comedy. The critics were not so kind and it barely garnered one star/five. They talked me out of seeing it.

Halle Berry’s inclusion as nominee for best actress in a drama might be seen as either awe or awful idea. Her film Frankie and Alice had a limited release at the end of 2010 and will be widely released February 2011. That’s why it made the 2010 cut. However, some blacks are already razzed-up about the mere thought that another award could come for a movie that “exposes” Miss Berry. The woman she portrays is mentally unbalanced and works as a stripper, so Halle bares T&A naturally.

Any sweep predictions? That may be hard to divine. Best bet: The King’s Speech might leave the audience speechless. The Oscar buzz begins tonight. So in that sense there are no losers. Because the Golden Globe nods will put them on the Academy’s red carpet win or lose.

Heloise’s 2010 Reel List: Part I

This is just the list of films I’ve seen this year that are part of this season’s films for nominations. These are not ALL the films seen this year however.

I’ve seen them either in theatre or from DVD/Netflix.  The easiest way to recall is to go to my Hollywood Calendar link and scroll through month by month:

Edge of Darkness

I am Love

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Most Dangerous Man in America

The Book of Eli

The Last Station

A Prophet

The Ghost Writer

My Name is Khan

Greenberg

Brooklyn’s Finest

Eat Pray Love

Sex and the City 2 (worst film of 2010)

Holy Rollers (Jesse Eisenberg)

Solitary Man

Just Wright

Letters to Juliet

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Winter’s Bone

Salt

Inception

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Howl

Waiting For Superman

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps

The Town

The American

True Grit

Toy Story 3

Eichmann

Hereafter

The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg)

Unstoppable

Fair Game

For Colored Girls

Shoah

The Fighter

The King’s Speech

 The Last Train

 

Heloise and her crazy world (Kansas city photo Oct 2010)

Heloise recently in Kansas City.  The downtown was like a ghost town. The midwest economy not faring well.

I was on my way to a meeting this was taken in hotel lobby.  I did enjoy a great restaurant down the street that I spent a bunch of money there. Loved the french pastry I had to work off later.

Have phone will travel. Too much traveling this year and did not care for the company I had to travel with, pushy teachers wherein every damn thing has to be their way. One really a young mexican girl that never shuts up and never stops demanding that everything be her way.  I usually walk out of the meetings when they start arguing with me over my fucking OPINION, Get a clue stupid hick. The last one I had to walk out because the broad start talking about her damn OB/GYN visit and pregnancy! WTF, and Who the hell wants to hear that shit? Now I have been teamed up with her for a faculty presentation. Just let her take over I don’t have the energy to get mad.

I complained of travel but just signed up to possibly do more traveling for a program offered here to teachers. I applied and it’s a long shot we’ll see.

My sister who has clinical depression is working towards a degree and we have often not spoken for months or years because of her depression asked me to HELP her not WRITE her papers or be a peer editor. I did and she has gotten A’s perfect scores on her papers. Her latest one was good for 40% of her grade and I cleaned it up for her and the prof wrote that there was nothing to correct on it and gave her an A which means she will get an A in the class. She is so happy. And now that I have Heloise hotel aka guest room is planning to visit after my daughter leaves.

I never have company and the only people I like are family mostly. Even I am surprised the good grades she got on the papers. She wrote them and she is a good writer. Guess it runs in the family.

A new place opening in town might be the ticket for me to get back into a job outside of teaching. Can’t wait to retire. Okay, welcome to my world. I don’t mind the students this year as much and getting used to working an 100% mexican school where parents don’t get it and don’t speak english. We know they are many illegals among them. And interesting thing the mexicans who work there are talking about how regular mexicans who live here are terrified of visiting mexico for the holidays. One said that people are getting home by NOON because they are afraid of being shot while being out and about. And that’s what we have brought here.

That’s my personal message for the end of the year. Sorry if you think it’s negative. On the plus side my neighbor, white, young, male lawyer finally bulldozes the leaning building in my yard on his property. Yes, but across the street this horrible poor white trash and his mexican freak boyfriend who has moved in along with another gay, has parked a huge damn 20-ft RV in the driveway and is living in it! It is perfectly legal too. I can’t stand trailer trash, sorry. Not only that but he was in prison when I moved here because he was sentenced as a pedophile for years. 

My other friend neighbor is going senile and can’t hold a conversation with her anymore because she keeps repeating herself. My other next door neighbor has a huge pecan tree that keeps dropping dead branches into my yard and fucking up stuff that it lands on. But I like her and her dad built a new deck for me for just 300 bucks and they are good white people and not trailer trash.  My other neighbors are kinda normal.

My other friend, used to be, lives across the street, I think we were friends in France in another life I have a pic of her from that life too. Met her future husband online and they were married within a year. She got a great catch. And when I needed a Christmas tree (daughter coming to visit with family) she put a like-new one out on the curb because she is completely remodeling her home while living with her new husband at his home down the road.

So, I just walked out and picked up the box from the curb and voila instant Christmas. I always find what I need on the curbs around here, no kidding. Damn Heloise you are too funny and crazy.

The best news is that my kids are back to talking to me again. Just like Cleopatra I have two kids female and male who look like fraternal twins but are not. We are back to being friends and my daughter and husband are coming here for Xmas first time. I had to create a guest room out of my craft room. It cost me over a grand to get the bedrooms painted and plaster repaired.

I bought a new bedroom set from Rooms to go  http://www.roomstogo.com/?fc_source=RMI&fc_kw=45153&gclid=CMK-zKaP56UCFcXD7QodQio2zQand I love it. And the house looks good too. Not white people good but simple and functional. I understand they don’t have them everywhere. And when they came to deliver no mexicans! Surprise just three black people. One huge guy and one little guy. Well, when I was trying to help and look on the big black guy accidently hits me smack in the eye and it stung like hell for days. It was near Nov. 22nd and I told you strange shit always happens to me around that time. But he did not break my nose that’s the good news.

Finally, had no invites this Thanksgiving and spent it alone getting house together and I cooked a little. But my son did call me and we talked for hours. He’s a day trader now. He did not listen to his mom’s advice. Love my kids and grandkids and my family. But yes, people mostly I don’t seek them out. That’s my personality as a Capricorn, I am not that friendly get over it.

Happy holidays

Heloise

A Teacher Watches “Waiting For Superman”

http://blogcritics.org/video/article/movie-review-waiting-for-superman3/  first published at Blogcritics.org October 12, 2010

Waiting for “Superman” takes a page from the catechism of Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone. He stars in this over-the-top look at public education in America. Canada knows the public schools of America well, growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s and attending a “failure factory.” The only difference is that these days there are many more from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles.

Waiting For “Superman” is a sharply focused, well-done documentary about three students who pin their hopes on gaining entrance by lottery into a public charter school. (The Harlem Children’s Zone is a boarding public charter school.) The applicants face tall odds with at best a 1:5 chance of acceptance. It ends with the lottery choices revealed. And it is no secret that the families followed did not win.

This somber film opens with a young black boy sitting on his bed recounting the little time he spent with his dad. When asked, “Where’s your father?” The young man stares, “He just died. He did drugs.”  Young Anthony’s life mirrors the current crop of students who don’t live in single-parent household, but often one headed by a single grandmother, sister, cousin or aunt who gives them shelter because biological parents are either in prison, on drugs or dead.

This film depicts hard choices facing one black, one brown and one white student from east to west. Davis Guggenheim, director producer and co-writer (Lesley Chilcott co-writer), fills in the blanks with narration. He talks about the stark difference between classes: abundant choice for the affluent and luck for the less fortunate.

Michelle Rhee is profiled in a good light in the film. She does not have a Ph.D., taught for only three years, no administrative experience but appointed chancellor of DC public schools by Mayor Fenty. Her presence and her mission were not appreciated by the teachers whom she knows are dishing “crappy education.” They hate her. Why? Because she is brought in to fix by firing bad teachers in the nation’s capital. Their schools report some of the lowest scores in math and reading in the country. Randi Weingarten is cast in poor light and portrayed as the woman working for the system and against Rhee. High drama happens when Rhee sits in the audience and discovers that her plan on the teacher’s union table, with offer to increase pay to six figures, fire unproductive teachers, and tenure thrown out is met with a wall of silence.  Rhee is crushed.

Timeline and storyline sifts in Waiting For “Superman” between real B/W footage from school days in the 1950s and 1960s; the three students who enter a lottery, and what’s wrong with education today bringing the audience up to date on the problems.

We know what works: more time on task, emphasis on math and science, competent teachers. We also know that fifth grade is the great divide. Canada emphases that students enter school with bright shiny faces, eager to learn but by fourth or fifth grade the score slide begins. And it is not just poor urban schools that are facing decline in performance.

There are great teachers out there, but in this film they do not make the cut. Teachers acknowledged are from KIPP (knowledge is power) or inside Canada’s charter.  He likens a great teacher to “a work of art.”  Canada also drives home the not-so-glamorous too; that teachers are just janitors, hired to take out the trash–low scores, low self-esteem, low IQ, and low achievement. Instead after “tenure” the status quo becomes checking the inbox and collecting a check. He pidgeon holes all unions (and principals) as protectors of the right of teachers not to teach. What about the rest of the teachers in this country?

An interactive, animated map of the USA tells us how the rest of the country is faring with facts and figures. We watch, not one single state on the map that can tout high scores in math and reading. Ouch. The old saw that failing neighborhoods produce failing schools is turned on its head by research according to this film. It is failing schools that produce failing neighborhoods. This part of the documentary nails the heart of the problem: what does this society value most? Prisons  filled with the unschooled or fixing America’s public schools?

The prison industrial complex has no trouble filling seats. Numbers don’t lie and one swallows hard when confronted: it costs $132,000 for prisoner/year, compared to the cost of a private school at $107,000 per annum/student. As pointed out in the film, money goes only one way when schools become dropout factories and prison-feeder institutions. But wealth is created and recycled when schools work.  

How this country relies on imported brain power is touched and juxtaposed with how students in this country rank with countries in the rest of the world.  For me, I am not buying it because one only has to ask one simple question: how many countries offer public education from K-12 to 100% of its population without charge? How Asian countries manage to include far more math and science classes? And what countries have tiered systems that track and move the best and brightest to higher education? How many children are simply left behind? That’s more than one simple question but you begin to grasp the complexity.

One thing is sad and inexcusable: ninth grade students entering high school with reading levels as low as first grade. Again, I have trouble believing such figures about mainstream students without seeing the research for myself. It is explained by “social promotions” and tracking. How tracking works is shown, but there is no discussion about the role of special education and how their scores are treated. So we do find many gaps in this documentary but no outright lies.

The final question in this exam over failed schools: can we trust Guggenheim and Canada’s assessment of public schools? If not, can we afford to doubt the urgency of this film’s message: if one student fails in a silent school system will anyone hear the sound?

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/video/article/movie-review-waiting-for-superman3/page-3/#ixzz12C4ddBQb