Tag Archives: teachers

Cal Thomas and the politics of made-for-TV movies

Cal Thomas just finished watching a movie on the Hallmark channel. Yep.  Now, I, too, love me some Hallmark Channel, as they have been known to play old repeats of Columbo on Sundays (my TiVo knows when).  But Thomas watches Hallmark channel for the movies. 

Today, Hallmark's commitment to quality television hasn't change (sic); it even has its own cable channel, which shows films that affirm the values most of us hold dear.

Well, the movie Thomas saw was called "Beyond the Blackboard," which was a movie about a teacher. I know, a teacher.

It's one of those "based on a true story" projects about a young woman (Stacey Bess) who desperately wants to teach, but finds there are no jobs available in her Salt Lake City school district. There is, however, an experimental program and Bess (played by Emily VanCamp), eagerly accepts the job. There's a problem, though. She is to teach homeless children in a rundown warehouse.

Okay, so this is a movie about the good done by a school and its teachers for the least-well-off.  Perhaps it could even be a case for more experimental programs like this to be started.  Perhaps it could be a case for supporting the programs out there right now that need financial backing.  Perhaps it could be a dramatization of how hard teachers work and how they deserve respect.  Alright, now, I don't think I'd like this movie as a movie (I'll admit, I don't like movies unless there are aliens or zombies), but I endorse its values.  Oh, wait, Thomas sees another set of values on offer.

[T]he film could easily veer off into a political diatribe and a call for more government spending on education. It is a tribute to the restraint of the creators that it does not. What it does depict is the power of one person to make a difference in other people's lives, not with government funds, but with the currency of a loving and dedicated heart.

So, I didn't see the movie, but this is weird.  Where Thomas sees the power of a loving heart to do what it can, I, just from what Thomas has said, see the need for government programs.  The poorest of this community don't have access to public education?  What is wrong here?  A capable teacher can't find work in a school district as big as Salt Lake?  Wuh?  And then the other shoe drops.  Thomas quotes the real Stacey Bess approvingly:

[Y]ou don't have to be sophisticated to love somebody, you don't have to have grand skills, you don't have to have a degree, you just have to want to care just a little bit further than what's expected.

Ah, you don't have to have a degree to be a teacher.  You just have to care a lot.  Remind me to go crazy when Thomas complains that teachers don't teach anything in school.