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Stuart Egan: What Frank Capra Could Teach Betsy DeVos About Public Schools


Stuart Egan: What Frank Capra Could Teach Betsy DeVos About Public Schools

Diane Ravitch

At the family Christmas dinner in New Jersey, someone asked the question, “What is the best Christmas movie of all time?” There were many suggestions, but the consensus was Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart.


BRAVO! We need far more "wonderful lives" and Common Good - "they're somebody's children, Mr. Potter"!
A total end to self-interested corrupt politicians and greedy ego-driven "business" people like Potter and trump, those who would destroy the "institution that binds together the life of the community" for private profits at the expense of all else!

Thank you Diane!


The crisis in our schools cannot be masked by invoking old Hollywood fantasies, no matter how pleasant and fetching they are. Too many students fall through the cracks, and too many citizens of all ages have not been equipped with the knowledge, reflectiveness and curiosity they need to participate in democracy. That there continues to be little progress toward implementing real accountability is one of several contributors to the choice phenomenon that concerns us all.




Yes they are!


"It's A Wonderful Life" is a story about a poor, frustrated-but- coping man who has a psychotic break and ends up visualizing a world into which he was not born. Sure, the town rallies around him, but, in the end, the bad guy still has the ill-gotten gains, and the poor people remain poor. "Mr. Potter" still wins.


Privatizers would like to turn a Common Good into a Cash Cow.

Common Core seeks to Undermine by destroying the Love, and Joy of Learning by subverting the Art of Teaching and forcing it into Drudgery, for both Students and Teachers, with the intended result of an intellectually ill-equipped generation of malleable bots.


For generations, many teachers in our schools have unconsciously undermined the love and joy of learning, replacing it with the drudgery that you imagine has only lately arrived. You and I have both had a handful of excellent teachers; but these few were always outnumbered by mediocre time servers in the profession. Until the unions grapple with true accountability and performance measures, this will continue to be the case, and public schools will continue to suffer the assaults of privatizers. As Freud says, for every "effect" there must be a "cause."


I imagine nothing.

Teachers have become slaves to intractable, non-negotiable Common Core demands that are mandated to take up huge amounts of their, and their students' time, for no real benefit but to enrich Entities merchandising implementals to the system.

Don't you realize that non of this is for the common

The great Teachers are hindered, the good Teachers are compromised, and the poor Teachers, that you allude to, are made virtually null and void.

Defense of this situation exposes either ignorance or collusion.


Those teachers who are among the less than stellar, and they are abundant, could certainly benefit their students by tying into a curriculum that has continuity, goals, clear learning targets, and that encourages thinking. If you are a great teacher yourself, you know well what I mean and you would not feel threatened by the Common Core.


Common Core is indefensible.

You either don't know what you're talking about or are in collusion.


Those weren't poor people.

George Bailey's wife was able to stay home to raise four kids, and renovate a big house, on George's salary.

Bert the Cop's wife was home all day, too.
("Think I'll go see what the wife is doin'." says Bert, to which Ernie, the Cab Driver points out to George "Family man!")

Because of the Baily Bros. Building and Loan's cooperative efforts, most of the people in town actually owned their own homes, moving out of Potter's slum rentals.

That Potter DIDN'T win was the point.

Bedford Falls retained its Middle Class, and their comfortable, not luxurious, but healthy and dignified, lifestyle.

Potter wins in the Nightmare sequence, where Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville ("That's the oldest tree in Pottersville!"), and gambling, prostitution and slums are the result.

The finale is so satisfying because, even though Potter gets away with the money that Uncle Billy absentmindedly placed in Potter's newspaper, the People maintain their middle class lifestyle and now have Life Experience proving what they can accomplish, working together for altruistic purposes.


What utter crap.
All of my teachers were excellent.
Having gone to school back in the day does not make you any kind of 'expert' on public education.