While The Incredibles is a wonderful cartoon adventure, the movie also includes some very pointed satirical statements about American culture, including the way we educate our children. A recent piece in the New York Times uses the words spoken by the animated characters to illustrate some very real problems with our system of teaching and learning.
I especially like what the writer has to say about another unintended consequence of No Child Left Behind, affecting high achieving students with no need for the "assistance" provided by the law.
The No Child Left Behind Act was an attempt to put more rigor into the system by punishing schools whose students don’t pass standardized tests, but it has had unintended consequences for high achievers. Administrators have been cutting funds for gifted-student programs and concentrating money and attention on the failing students.
"In practice, No Child Left Behind has meant No Child Gets Ahead for gifted students," said Joyce Clark, a planner in the Pittsburgh public schools’ gifted program. "There’s no incentive to worry about them because they can pass the tests."
"The Incredibles" might take comfort from a recent report, "A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students," by the John Templeton Foundation. It summarizes research showing that gifted children thrive with more advanced material and describes their current frustration in prose that sounds like Dash: "When they want to fly, they are told to stay in their seats. Stay in your grade. Know your place. It’s a national scandal."
See the movie and read the article. Both are excellent.