If you haven't seen Blind Side, you should. For anyone who has spent years of his life struggling to give his children an education, this is the movie. It's the movie for teachers waging the same struggle, too.
There's a moment, at the end, when Leigh Anne asks Michael if he even wants to play football. By this point he has been famously recruited by dozens of college coaches across the country and has committed to playing for Ole Miss, his new parents' alma mater. And only now does his mother ask him whether this is what he wants.
Michael answers, simply, "I'm pretty good at it."
For many of us, that's what education is about. A good education takes a small child and makes him good at reading, writing, and arithmetic whether he wants to be good at these things or not. The truth is, as Michael begins life with his adoptive parents, he doesn't want to play football. He's not suited to the game emotionally. But he learns to play because his parents and his coach and even his little brother painstakingly teach him to play, and they teach him to play because they know he can do it and because football matters to them. And now he plays well.
There's a lovely moment where Michael's new dad, Sean, recites The Charge of the Light Brigade. Michael asks why the 600 have to die, and Sean tells him it's because the leaders have made a mistake. So Michael writes a paper about what it means to trust your leaders, and to follow them.
At home, parents are the leaders; at school, teachers are.
But the real education leaders in this country, the ones deciding what our children will and, more importantly, will not learn, have made a mistake.
They've decided our children don't need to be in the game.