May 25, 2024

Matt Damon Can’t Save Us!

“I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents. I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.” (Academy-Award Winner Matt Damon, March to Save Our Schools, July 30, 2011)

Matt Damon is one of the world’s most popular action-heroes, but you educators do realize that is make-believe. Right?

Saturday, July 30th, thousands of educators from across the country spent many hours in sweltering heat as part of the March to Save Our Schools. Leading educators, Linda Darling-Hammond, Deborah Meier, Jonathan Kozol, Pedro Noguera, Diane Ravitch and fed-up courageous Texas school superintendent John Kuhn inspired the crowd.

The demands of the march were unequivocal:

  1. Equitable funding for all public school communities
  2. An end to high stakes testing used for the purpose of student, teacher, and school evaluation
  3. Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies
  4. Curriculum developed for and by local school communities

Matt Damon was the day’s final speaker delivering a barnburner that got the lazy media’s attention. [transcript]

I had a front row perch. Matt Damon is a real mensch. He flew all-night from a film shoot in Vancouver to stand with public school educators on behalf of their jobs, dignity and the critical importance of public schools to a democracy.

That is precisely the problem.

Washington D.C. is less than a day’s drive from hundreds of thousands of teachers. Why was Matt Damon fighting for their profession while they stayed home?

Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen. We no longer engaged in genteel academic debates over differing approaches to spelling instruction.

There are well-funded powerful forces out to destroy public education and deprive educators of their livelihoods. Despite this, most educators remain silent and defenseless. The “bold ones” fantasize about Twitter saving the world while their dignity, expertise, paychecks and pensions are being attacked.

Educators, if you will not stand up and take care of yourselves, how can we count on you to care for other people’s children?

If you will not stand between students and the madness of “the system,” who will?

Matt Damon can’t save you. You need to be the action hero for America’s children!

Matt Damon addresses the Save Our Schools March on D.C. from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Here is another fabulous video clip of Damon responding forcefully to questions from a Libertarian crackpot at the March.

Check out his comments on charter schools at 1:33

9 thoughts on “Matt Damon Can’t Save Us!

  1. Truth is, you could have 10 times the number of teachers there and it wouldn’t have an impact. Marches don’t do much. Not until teachers are willing to break laws, strike, and support candidates who support their issues (and not vote for the ones who don’t, no matter the party), nothing is going to change.

  2. Gary,

    I think both you and Matt Damon make some great points, and that you’re both real menschen. (I especially appreciate your Twitter bashing). However, I think Ryan’s points are better and ultimately more on the money.

    Furthermore, what were those educators to do whose opinions varied slightly from the four “unequivocal” demands of the march? Have you considered that more may have marched, if only the demands were more in line with the heartfelt convictions of those within the greater majority of public educators?

  3. Darren,

    Is “Ryan” a reference to Saving Private Ryan? If not, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Many many people long agree on the four demand I listed. You cannot organize thousands of people to take action if everyone has their own personal agenda or cannot compromise.

    I wonder why you disagree with the goals of the march, although I am confident that I will disagree.

    Is losing income, professional esteem or your penion insufficient for you to take action? Or are you hanging onto some small philosophical disagreement?

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