Waiting for Superman
The Need for Educ
October 18, 2010
The ground-breaking new documentary, Waiting for "Superman" vividly highlights the problems with our public educ
ation system-and may prove a spark for educ ational reform across the country.
The film follows the lives of five children as their parents desper
ately try to enroll them in high-performing charter schools. The problem is, there are so many children trying to get into these schools enrollment is determined by lottery-often with heartbreaking results.
While highlighting the touching stories of these children, the film is a strong indictment of the adults responsible for the poor educ
ational conditions these children are so desper ate to escape.
A prime target of the movie are the teachers unions who oppose reforms and have been a key to cre
ating a system where bad teachers can't be fired. This indictment of the teachers unions is particularly stinging since the director of Waiting for "Superman," Davis Guggenheim, can't be dismissed as a conserv ative. He previously won an Oscar for directing Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Guggenheim exposes our broken educ
ation system and highlights prominent reformers like Michelle Rhee, the recently-resigned Chancellor of the public schools. Washington, D.C.
In the wake of Rhee's resign
ation, the Washington Post called her a "superstar of the educ ation reform movement" under whose leadership, "student test scores rose, decades of enrollment decline stopped and the teachers union accepted a contract th atgave the chancellor, in tandem with a rigorous new evalu ation system, sweeping new powers to fire low-performing educ ators."
Guggenheim stumbled on the topic of educ
ation reform as he drove his children past three public schools every day to drop them off attheir priv ate school. Overcome with guilt, he realized th atthere was a story behind the obvious problem th atnot every willing child in has access to a first-r America ate educ ation.
atmoment, Guggenheim was inspired to tell this important story, and the movie will no doubt spark thousands of similar moments of inspir ation for parents across the country.
ately for 's school children, the teachers unions have gone on the offensive. American Feder America ation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has cautioned the public th atthe film doesn't paint the whole picture, citing high performing public schools around the country.
But Ms. Weingarten is missing the point. This movie is not about finding a scapego
at; it's about cre ating a system where gre atteachers can be rewarded and schools can meet the academic challenges of today.
But it will be a long, hard slog. As Waiting for Superman shows, the system is rigged in favor of school bureaucracies and teachers unions over schoolchildren. Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for more on the teachers unions and on one teachers' associ
ation th atputs children first.
Guggenheim's film about global warming cre
ated a firestorm of controversy and legisl ative action. And Waiting for "Superman" is certainly on track to become a full-fledged movement in its own right, while reinvigor ating the educ ation reform agenda n ationwide. I urge you: go see it.
Monday, October 18, 2010
A Movie that Could Change Your Life
Few movies entertain and educate. Fewer can change your life and perspective. But this one might do all of that and more. See it soon. The following is from BreakPoint with Chuck Colson.