“Whatever your deal is, be it your job or your hobby, get really good at it. You will have lots of free time to work on this because you have no friends. Socializing is often centered around people who have “your thing” in common, so it helps to be dedicated and skilled in it. This is for both personal satisfaction, and that other people will take you seriously if you’re taking your thing seriously.”— Ben Popken, HOW TO: Move to New York City Sane and Not Broke - The Consumerist
Not to be confused with that eerie Shirley Jackson short story about town sacrifices, I watched The Lottery, available both on Netflix and Hulu. It’s a particularly patriotic film choice on this lazy 4th of July. The documentary, which follows four families from Harlem as they await results of a charter school admissions lottery, brings up vital issues about American public education.
The American Dream promotes this idea that anything is possible, that we as a country are in a unique position because we believe in life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. All men are born equal, right? Kind of, minus that whole The Achievement Gap thing. Equality and equity are not one and the same - just take a look at what kind of access American children have to quality schools.
I thought a lot about the documentary as I watched it. A release that came out around the same time, Waiting for Superman, covered a lot of the same topics. Neither film is perfect, but there is only so much you can cover in the length of a feature documentary and I found it pretty easy to interpret the tone of both films as fairly biased and subjective. I still recommend both of them because of how important it is to raise such issues in public discourse. Since narcissism is very much core to the American identity, here are my fairly informed opinions about education reform. Happy Birthday, America!