Quote of the Day: “A warning sign here in Canada”

Waiting for Superman trailer

Bill Gates, who’s retired from Microsoft and is donating billions of dollars to promote education, is at the TIFF for the premiere of his film Waiting for Superman.  Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Toronto Star:

The candid panel discussion that followed — which included Guggenheim, superstar educational activist Geoffrey Canada, and Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates — turned up the voltage on an already powerful film.

“The power of this movie is partly why I’m optimistic about change on this issue,” Gates, who is interviewed in the film, told the crowd at the packed Winter Garden Theatre.

“Waiting for Superman” follows a handful of children and families in public schools across the country. Despite decades of promises by politicians that no child will be left behind, drop-out rates are sky-high and many children fail to learn even the basics. The film details how the system has been paralyzed by complacency, a bloated bureaucracy and powerful teachers unions. It also follows activist educators who are desperate to make changes, especially in inner city schools.

In 2006, an international survey ranked the U.S. at 25th out of 30 developed nations when it comes to teens’ proficiency in math and science. Canada took the fifth spot on the same assessment.

“Use us as a warning sign here in Canada,” producer Lesley Chilcott said. “My understanding is things are starting to slip here.”

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