Monday, May 16, 2011

Required Watching for Americans and Required Reading for Californians

I don't get political on my blog a lot. Which is kind of odd, because in "real life" I am very interested in current events and politics.

I think that's because I don't want to offend anyone. I tend to be a peace-maker in political discussion, even though I have my own opinions. I pretty much have to be -- my Dad is a passionate Democrat and my husband is a Republican. Basically I had to register as an Independent so as to not pick sides. That, and I actually am an Independent.

That said, I think the most important thing any American can do is be an informed citizen and vote. Even I don't agree with you, I will 100% respect you if you are informed about the issues and vote based on that. I don't like it much when people are apathetic or when people are "single-issue voters."

So in the spirit of being an informed electorate. I thought I'd share a couple of things that I personally think should be required watching and reading for Americans, particularly Californians.

The first is the documentary, Waiting For Superman.

I think this documentary did an excellent job exposing the problems with America's educational system. I think American teachers truly are a national treasure. I had so many life-changing and amazing teachers. But I think that teachers are often surrounded by a broken system.

Does this documentary address every issue in American schools? No. But it does a great job of giving a fair look at American education. Therefore, I declare this "required watching for all Americans."

The second is The Economist, particularly the special report on California and direct democracy gone awry.

The Mr. and I subscribe to the Economist and read it every week at our breakfast table, in bed, and on airplanes. If you're looking for a balanced and informative news source, subscribe to The Economist.

A couple of weeks ago The Economist did a special report on California that was particularly good. The report covered the history of the "failed state" and the unintended consequences of direct democracy gone haywire.

Therefore, this report is "required reading" for all Californians, but I strongly suggest that everyone read it considering 1 in 8 Americans are Californians.

The Special Report had several articles. Here are the links to them all:

And for statistics/graph nerds like me, you'll be excited to know that the articles contain great charts and stats like these:

(from The Economist)

If you saw Waiting for Superman or read this Economist special report, leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear them.


Dee Stephens said...

thanks for the suggestion. I love documentaries!

Lil' Woman said...

Thanks for the suggestions!:)

Carly Anne said...

I'm totally with you on the Economist. My husband and I read it religiously.

Katie said...

I loved Waiting for Superman - My parents were big supporters of public school, even if it sucked ha. But I can't help but think that I'd love my future kids to be a bit more challenged or set up for the future in one of those magnet or chartered schools. But obviously I still have TONS of research (and time) before any final opinions get made.

My husband and I watched this together and it definitely got some conversations going. I love that about documentaries!

Jamie said...

I haven't seen the movie yet but I definitely plan to. My state's educational system is really crumbling right now. I could go on and on- I'm very politically minded as well! I also run elections and have no choice but to be involved in politics thanks to my career. I love "serious" posts like these, keep 'em up! : )

Sarah @Newlywed and Decorating said...

I REALLY need to watch Waiting for Superman! I think there is no more important issue than education!

Ker said...

I saw "Waiting for Superman" a couple months ago - our project arranged a trip when I was working in Washington DC bc another project was doing work for the US Dept of Ed - and we had a speaker after. It was a super interesting movie, especially as a daughter of a public school teacher I could see how teachers are trapped by inane rules but they need to be fixed or the students are the ones that will suffer. I love the city I live in (Albany, NY), but the public schools are HORRIBLE - you save money on taxes but have to pay to send your kids to a good school. Not a good trade-off.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I need to check out the one about California. With moving there, I need to start understanding everything that's been going on with the state and the economy! Thanks for the suggestions!

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