Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The real story of the Blind Side

Henry posted that we liked the movie the Blind Side.

I liked the real story better. I spent hours researching and watching news interviews.

Here's some of what I found in video format.

A Diamond in the Rough

A Dream Come True

An Epic Journey

Class Room Challenge

Here's some of what I found in news articles:

Oher, who has skimmed the book, said he mostly liked the movie, but added that he thought his football skills were misrepresented and that his character was portrayed as too stupid.

For example, in the movie, Oher finds out his father committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. In actuality, his father was murdered.

A good portion of the movie is devoted to Oher's education and his learning techniques.In dramatic form, he needed a 2.5 GPA (grade point average) to get into an NCAA Division I school. One of the final scenes of the movie has Leigh Anne announcing he received a 2.52 at Oher's high school graduation ceremony.

While this did happen, it's not quite accurate. Oher needed more than a 2.65 GPA and achieved this by taking online classes via a BYU program, which was combined with his already achieved 2.52 GPA.

Some players felt the movie didn’t do Oher justice in terms of his football I.Q. It portrayed him as a guy who didn’t know football, yet former teammates said his football experience went much deeper than portrayed.

"In the movie, they tried to make him too quiet, too illiterate,” Ole Miss safety Kendrick Lewis said. "Michael Oher wasn’t that type of guy. They tried to make like he had no football knowledge, and that wasn’t Michael Oher.”

Said McCluster: "I talked to him about it, and he didn’t really like that part. If you look at him, you can tell he’s been an athlete all is life. You can’t learn that in a couple of years.”

Here's a link to a ten page article called The Ballad of Big Mike. This is based on the book that Michael Oher was referring to in the first quote I listed.

I love the Michael Oher story. He is the poster child for what is wrong in foster care and public education. From the Ballad of Big Mike:

In his first nine years of school, Michael Oher was enrolled in 11 different institutions, and that included a gap of 18 months, around age 10, when he apparently did not attend school at all. Either that or the public schools were so indifferent to his presence that they neglected to register it formally. Not that Oher actually showed up at the schools where he was enrolled. Even when he received credit for attending, he was sensationally absent: 46 days of a single term of his first-grade year, for instance. His first first-grade year, that is; Michael Oher repeated first grade. He repeated second grade, too. And yet the school system presented these early years as the most accomplished of his academic career. They claimed that right through the fourth grade he was performing at “grade level.” How could they know when, according to these transcripts, he hadn’t even attended the third grade?

Simpson, who had spent 30-plus years in area public schools, including 29 in Memphis, knew what everyone who had even a brief brush with the Memphis public schools knew: they passed kids up to the next grade because they found it too much trouble to flunk them. They functioned as an assembly line churning out products never meant to be market-tested. At several schools, Michael Oher had been given F’s in reading his first term and C’s the second term, which allowed him to finish the school year with D’s — they were giving him grades just to get rid of him. And get rid of him they did: seldom did the child return to the school that passed him. The year before Simpson got his file, Michael Oher passed ninth grade at a high school called Westwood. According to his transcripts, he missed 50 days of school that year. Fifty days! At Briarcrest, the rule was that if a student misses 15 days of any class, he has to repeat the class no matter his grade. And yet Westwood had given Michael Oher just enough D’s to move him along. Even when you threw in the B in world geography, clearly a gift from the Westwood basketball coach who taught the class, the grade-point average the student would bring with him to Briarcrest began with a zero: 0.6.

In the end, it was the care of a good family that made the difference. No government program can compete with that.

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