WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN"
An Indictment Against America’s Failing Public Schools
Release Date: September 24, 2010
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 82 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Vantage/Viacom
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Executive Producer: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann
Producer: Lesley Chilcott
Writer: Davis Guggenheim, Billy
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Nick Meyer, President, Paramount Vantage
A Division of Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 956-5000; Fax: (323) 862-1212
Davis Guggenheim’s excellent documentary explores the current state of public schools in our nation and the adverse effects of poor education on American children. It candidly analyzes the effects of poor education on local neighborhoods while probing into the nightmare of bureaucratic entanglements between federal, state and local school funding. The movie scrutinizes the tragedy of what many people are now calling our public schools: dropout factories. It also questions the validity of giving tenure to underperforming teachers as well as the iron grip of the teacher unions. At the same time, the movie shines the light on several exemplary charter schools and public schools that are utilizing cutting edge teaching techniques and excelling past their local, failing counterparts.
Geoffrey Canada, a public school educator and president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, David Levin and Mike Feinberg, founders of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), and Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the Washington D.C. public school system since 2007, are just a few of the admirable educators highlighted in the movie. These individuals, along with many others across the nation, are fighting against the failing system to produce charter schools and public boarding schools that defy the odds of their neighborhoods and offer children quality education.
WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” is an excellent documentary. It is well directed and the point is well conveyed. It has several animation sequences sprinkled throughout that offer alarming statistics on dropout rates, criminal rates amongst dropouts, costs of failing schools, and declining test scores amongst U.S. students. The movie also integrates wonderful emotional factors as it tells the stories of several young children who, along with their parents and caretakers, are trying to defy the odds and make it into these exemplary charter school programs through their student lotteries. The movie is, at times, heartbreaking and emotional.
While the validity of public education versus private education and even home education is highly debated even among Christians, this movie offers a hopeful look at America’s failing public system and some of the individuals who are giving their lives to offer children quality public education. The movie’s scope does fail, however, to examine the quality of private and home-schooled education systems, but that is not the director’s goal. The director’s goal is to examine the public school system, and in that goal he gets an A+.
The movie does have a mostly mixed humanist worldview with no specific moral elements other than people who are working to change the public school system as well as hearing children discuss how they want to be nurses and doctors to help others. It also highlights multiple sides of the education debate, from progressive, socialist, feminist and even anti-capitalist viewpoints to strong, patriotic points of view. Media-wise viewers should thoroughly enjoy WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN”.
WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” is an excellent documentary. It is well directed and its points are well conveyed. It has several animation sequences sprinkled throughout that offer alarming statistics on dropout rates, criminal rates amongst dropouts, costs of failing schools, and declining test scores amongst American students. Though some left-wing viewpoints are mentioned, the movie seems to prefer more conservative, patriotic solutions that take the teacher unions to task for many of the problems. The movie fails to examine the quality of private and homeschool systems, but that is not the director’s goal.