Waiting For Superman

by Patrick on August 10, 2010


I just saw a preview for a movie that had me on the edge of my seat. I cried and in the few short minutes was riveted. Waiting for Superman is a documentary coming out this fall. It follows a group of promising students through the battered school system of the United States. It presents the problems facing our educational system and is filled with statistics and information about how our schools are failing our children.

The movies website is a great place to start learning about the movie, and there are some really creative ways to get the public involved in the conversation and in the helping with the solution.

Tandem Teaching just wanted to give you a heads up on this revolutionary movie. You owe it your kid to keep yourself informed on these issues.

{ 3 comments }

Melissa August 12, 2010 at 4:57 am

Patrick, I want everyone who goes to see this movie (including you!) to be really mindful of the subliminal message this movie is sending out. Just the fact that Michelle Ree (the Chancellor of Education in Washington DC) seems to be depicted in a positive light gave me pause. So I did some investigating.

Since it’s early, and I have to get ready for the day, I’ll let Paul Socolar voice my concerns for me:

“According to the film, unions may have been necessary back in the day when women teachers were undervalued, but they now make school change impossible. They prevent the firing of incompetent teachers, the rewarding of good teachers with more pay, flexibility in the work day, and political reform of the system.

The filmakers don’t ever point the finger at those who have promoted funding inequities and helped create the haves-vs.-have-nots public system we have now. No mention that anti-tax hysteria, segregation, suburbanization, and White flight have all contributed to the mess schools are in.

School funding is only discussed long enough to tell us that we’ve doubled spending on schools and results haven’t improved a bit. The sparse teacher voices in the film complain about restrictive union work rules but don’t mention the restrictive consequences of a high-stakes testing regimen.

Besides rolling back the influence of unions and teacher contracts, the film is short on solutions for creating more good schools. And as one audience member pointed out, the countries the U.S. is falling behind mostly have unionized teachers.”

You can read more of this article at http://www.thenotebook.org/blog/102728/supernan-help-or-menace

I am still going to see the film. I just hope that everyone else who does can think of how to fix the system instead of demonizing unions.

wseadawg August 12, 2010 at 5:08 am

Once again putting my trucker’s hat that says “Conspiracy Nut” on, I’ll say this is yet another piece of a very well funded and strategic national campaign to wrestle public schools away from the community and into the hands of those who just plain think they know better than the people doing the work every day. Corporatists, philanthropists, reformers, politicians, you name it, all pushing the cart in the same direction without a hint of honest reflection or self-critique, while teachers, as usual, get thrown under the bus. Where’s the opposing viewpoints? Oh…

I saw a couple interviews of Guggenheim, and while talented, he is completely and utterly patronizing toward a subject, and it’s subjects, predominantly poor and minority kids, who people in his circles never associate with. It’s as if he and a lot of other reformers got tired of reading sad stories in Time Magazine, and decided it might be a good subject to make a movie about. Not much in the way of grass roots responding to a call from the needy. More like, “I wish those people could learn to be more like me. Then the world would be a better place.” They overlook the self-centeredness, self-aggrandizing and basic arrogance if their viewpoint and methods, which are always top-down, telling someone else what to do, instead of responding to what people ask for and need to be successful.

Most people don’t understand how complex, hard and confusing life can be for struggling populations, and guys like Gates and Guggenheim don’t help by dangling one failed magic-bullet solution after another in front of the eyes of the exasperated and desperate. Some might call that playing on people’s emotions or “manipulation.” But what’s scary about films like this, and guys like Guggenheim is, they become true believers in a very short time, and have power, money and influence to unwittingly do a lot of damage by not listening or caring to what those in the trenches, closest to the action, have been crying for them to do for decades. “Stop standing there criticizing and lend a hand!”

Nice film, nicely timed to lay another brick on the teachers’ backs.

Documentary? Hmm.

Propaganda? Definitively.

Queenie August 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Wow! I am so digging what you have said, the line below totally stopped me in my tracks…

“But what’s scary about films like this, and guys like Guggenheim is, they become true believers in a very short time, and have power, money and influence to unwittingly do a lot of damage by not listening or caring to what those in the trenches, closest to the action, have been crying for them to do for decades. “Stop standing there criticizing and lend a hand!””

Documentary? Hmm.

Propaganda? Definitively.
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deep thinking- I appreciate it