Sticking It to the Man
Sticking It to the Man by Wayne Au compares two Hollywood movies, School of Rock and The Perfect Score. Au uses the films to speak about the United States “dehumanizing,” “budget cutting,” over-test driven educational system. This excerpt was an interesting read, and Au’s critique of these two very different films does a great job of shedding light on some of the current educational practices that discourage cooperative learning and free thinking, which the movies believe, are making our classrooms boring and high-stakes test driven. The author states that the moral lesson in both of these films “is that grades and test scores don’t represent real learning, and they certainly represent all that is human and important about students and education.”
The chapter begins with a summary of School of Rock. Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn impersonates his roommate to attain a long-term substitute teaching position at a wealthy private school. Finn hasn’t the slightest clue about teaching, but in his naivety does away with the previous teachers atmosphere of “silent contained obedience to a free-spirited classroom.” Finn is able to bring out each of the students hidden talents through the creation of a school rock band, in which they work collectively to compete in a competition. Over the course of the movie the students gradually become more self-aware, and their attitudes toward their own education take a “more positive direction.”
Au is clear on his opinion of the Perfect Storm being junk, but also recognizes that the movie still manages to get a couple of good points across to it’s audience. According to Au, the film does a great job of exposing the inequalities of standardized testing and test makers, such as the SAT and ETS. He goes on to explain about how the SAT or “Suck-Ass Test” is laden with biasness in gender, race and socio-economic status.
I enjoyed reading this piece. I agree with most of the viewpoints of the movies, so it was easy to enjoy. I personally do not believe that we should be measuring student intelligence with a “one size fits all” mentality. With such an emphasis placed on test scores, in my opinion, teachers are forced to teach to the test, and lose the ability to create a learning environment that is best suited to the many different learning styles within each classroom.