“Waiting for Superman” – A Film About Our Broken Public School System

This film is not out yet, but look for it to be released this fall. It’s one of those really “important” films, like Food, Inc. and an Inconvenient Truth (same filmmaker Davis Guggenheim) “Waiting for Superman” is one of those must-see movies. Through real-life children’s stories, this documentary tells us how the U.S. school system, once the best in the world, is now utterly failing our kids – to the point of calling the schools “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes”. Still, it seems that the documentary offers hope as Guggenheim explores alternative, innovative approaches that could revive the system.

The current statistics are appalling: among 30 developed countries, the U.S. is ranked 25th in math and 21st in science. For a nation whose global leadership position is already under threat, there is no excuse, no more time to waste. We need to prepare our kids to compete in the global economy. We need to awaken everyone to the crisis. We need to make our politicians – who keep making promises to reform the school system but never deliver – accountable.

In the meanwhile, as we “wait” for things to improve, there are some things we can do immediately. First, commit tosee the film in theaters: for each pledge, 5 books will be given to schools in need. As the number of people who have pledged increases, sponsors also step in to offer various donations, like Office Max who will offer school supplies to teachers. Sweet.

Visit the website to find out other ways to take action, such as by getting involved in your school community, by giving books, by becoming a mentor or by writing a statement of support… among some ideas.

Spread the word! Go see the film and talk about it. Here’s the trailer:

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3 Responses to “Waiting for Superman” – A Film About Our Broken Public School System

  1. Cora Pina says:

    I do agree that the Public School System in the United States need improvement, however I don’t agree with the films emphasis that Charters and Private Schools are the answer. In Chicago there has been many Charter and private schools that were opened, and the students performances are equal or worst than the traditional public schools in performance for the most part. Teachers at these Charter schools are not even certified or highly qualified to work in the areas their teaching, but the film does not acknowledge these facts. In addition, this film does not recognize that many children with disabilities and behavior challenges are not allow to attend. Many times children have to pass entry exams. I don’t call this a choice. I call this selective and discriminative enrollment. Instead, I feel that hiring high quality teachers and providing children with clean and productive environments are more logical and effective. This could be done in the traditional school setting. I don’t know if you ever heard of Jaime Escalante who was a teacher in a public school setting. The students he worked with were at risk students who were several years beyond and were expected to fail. However, Jaime was a smart, highly qualified teacher who taught these students how to do college calculus. All his students excel and were able to achieve and compete with international students. These students did not need charters or private schools, they needed an effective teacher who was qualified. A movie was made regarding this superior teachers life, and I believe that is what the public schools need more of in order to be number one again in the United States of America. Please be honest in all areas when talking about education and mention the pros and cons of what you are promoting to film.

    • The Succulent Wife says:

      Thank you for that Cora. Actually, you might also enjoy this commentary on the Daily Beast: http://bit.ly/axhYB1. And, I agree with you about charter schools not being a panacea. My daughter attended one (as an alternative to other unsatisfactory options) that created more damage than anything else. It should all start with the teachers. They make it happen.

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