Waiting For Superman

Okay folks, this one is a rave!

"Waiting For Superman" is the most important documentary shown at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival! (It won the Audience Award at Sundance.) It illuminates the weaknesses in the American education system, both public AND private, and compares our students with those of other countries. Globally, our students rank waaaaay down in academic achievement (and that's American students from both public AND private schools), but they are at the very TOP in their own assessment of their abilities!

In fact, unlike the generally accepted myth, the deluded students from our more affluent school districts think they are doing great, but Bill Gates is still forced to hire engineers from India. In fact, I think he is building a facility there, and NOT because he wants to, but because so few American graduates have the fundamental skills his company requires. He is pouring millions of dollars into fixing the problem and has teamed with President Obama to defy the teachers' unions to that end. Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the Washington DC school system is tackling the same problem from her vantage point. She's a pistol!

This movie puts a face on five or six students who are caught up in the "Failure Factories" which we support with our tax dollars. Educational reformer Geoffrey Canada, not only recognized the problem (after he realized in grade school that Superman was fictitious and would NOT come to save the day!), but has developed successful charter schools that prove the problem CAN be fixed. He focuses on students from the poorest districts to prove his point!

We visit the notorious "Rubber Room" discussed in The New Yorker magazine about a year ago, in which tenured teachers show up every day, sometimes for three to five YEARS, as they await their termination papers. These include inept teachers, child molesters, thieves, and drug addicts. They continue to collect full pay, regular salary increases, medical benefits and accrue vacation time, while playing bridge, solitaire, sleeping or reading. Virtually every school district in the United States has its own version of the Rubber Room.

We come to care about the students (AND parents!) who aspire to a better life. We watch in the final minutes of the film as the lotteries for various charter schools are drawn, in which only a small fraction of the qualified applicants can be accepted.

The graphics are top notch and there is plenty of humor. I invite you to view the trailers:

Please request this wonderful film from your libraries, Netflix and any other source you can think of, as it MUST get distribution!