Waiting for “Superman”

This past weekend I went to the theater to see Waiting for “Superman,” and my feeling is that this movie should be mandatory watching for ALL Americans. Whether or not you agree with what Davis Guggenheim suggests in the film, it is important that we get the conversation started, and for that I am grateful.

SYNOPSIS (provided by Paramount Pictures)

For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians promises, our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children.

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education statistics have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of Waiting for “Superman”. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying drop-out factories and academic sinkholes, methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.

However, embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, and ultimately questioning the role of unions in maintaining the status quo, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have—in reshaping the culture—refused to leave their students behind.

Here, Davis Guggenheim talks about why he made the film:

And here is a Public Service Announcement that was made to promote the film:

Frederick Hess’s recent National Affairs essay, “Does School Choice ‘Work’?” should be read by everyone seeing the movie. Not because it is a counter-argument to the movie’s premise, but because it brings to light some of the issues regarding school choice and the charter school movement. Not every charter school is exceeding. However, many ARE, so something must be happening, right?

As Ross Douthat states so perfectly, in his New York Times op-ed article, “Maybe charter schools, merit pay and vouchers won’t instantly turn every American child into a test-acing dynamo. But if they “only” create a more cost-effective system that makes parents and students happier with their schools — well, that would be no small feat, and well worth fighting for.”