Documentary Spotlight: Waiting For Superman

Waiting for Superman Documentary Spotlight: Waiting For Superman

Waiting For Superman, the critically acclaimed documentary on America’s failing public school system is now available on DVD, blu-ray, and on-demand and is easily one of the best movies of the year. If this doc doesn’t piss you off, it’s time to start checking for a pulse. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim is one angry liberal who uses facts and hipster animation and charts (very similiar to Michael Moore’s influential style) to illustrate his points about how our public school system is broken and ways it might be fixed. Guggenheim wisely keeps the focus on the kids he profiles and a few educators trying to make a difference. Surprising to some liberals I’m sure, is the way Guggenheim goes after awful teachers and a tenure system that does nothing to punish bad behavior, he argues that this is the hallmark of the destruction of the public schools in America. He also focuses on some reformers including a tough D.C. reformer named Michelle Rhee and the head of the Harlem Success Charter Academy (a character school) named Geoffrey Canada. The major villian of the piece is Randi Weingarten (current president of The American Federation of Teachers). Weingarten comes across as a clueless stooge who cares nothing for the kids. All that is missing from her snide talking head remarks is the music from SAW.

Guggenheim definitely has an agenda and a point of view. He favors charter schools over public schools and sees tenure as nothing but pure evil. Charter schools are not easy to get into and there are lotteries head for few spots for the kids presented in the movie. If their number is called, its off to get a better education, if not, its back to their failing public schools. The documentary isn’t perfect and more updates on the kids would have been a better way to end it but there’s no doubt that Waiting For Superman is a must-see for people no matter what their point of view or experience. It’s powerful, hopeful, frustrating, and heart-breaking in equal doses.


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