Waiting for SUPERMAN: A Participant Media Guide by Karl Weber
Remedial Study for Failing Public Schools
Download Article Fanning the flames is a controversial documentary, Waiting for Superman , which paints a grim picture of the education system in the United States today. Waiting for Superman has raised a lot of fear and anger. But many parents describe leaving the theater a bit unclear about the core points the film is trying to make and unsure how to take action in light of their strong emotional response. Though money doubled, reading and math scores have flat-lined. And US schools produce lower test scores than many comparable countries despite spending more on education than any other country.
In the accompanying book, Guggenheim positions himself as an expert on schools and education, and the film as expressing that expertise. My own comments for this particular audience build on some very valuable critical resources out there, which I list and annotate at the end of my post. There are other serious problems with the film and I will deal with them in later posts, but preview them at the end of this post. For decades, social justice activists, scholars, and community activists have decried the gaps in education available to children in different communities, defined both by class and by race, and have organized to call attention to and rectify these gaps. Indeed, Guggenheim sees the film as an inheritor of the Civil Rights Movement, about which his father, Charles, also a documentarian, made several films. The film and the new reform movement is an insult to the historical reality of the Civil Rights Movement, which was always a social justice movement aimed at giving people of color equal access to the major institutions and life domains of society and reducing inequality in society. WfS and the new reformers want to split this agenda in two, and leave a concern with poverty itself behind.
Documentary film. Released fall , EARLY this month, as he drove his Prius model year , nonleather seats down a bohemian artery of Venice, the gentrifying neighborhood where he lives, Davis Guggenheim passed a public school. Even though it is within walking distance of his home, each day he or his wife bypasses the school while delivering their children to private school.
Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight, and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications. PRINT EMAIL "The documentary calls attention to the children who are being failed by our education system and deprived of the kind of education that will open doors for them throughout their lives. Despite Guggenheim's undeniable good intentions, the film falls short by casting two outliers in starring roles-the "bad" teacher as villain, and charter schools as heroes ready to save the day. The problem is that these caricatures are more fictional than factual. She made radical changes to an imperfect system. She closed schools, fired principals, and held teachers accountable.
A grassroots group of parents and teachers pokes big holes in last year's blockbuster documentary about America's schools -- insisting that real reform will require more than brand-conscious initiatives such as increased testing standards and access to charter schools. Assistant Secretary of Education, during a speech after a recent screening. After months of seething about what they view as the one-sidedness of Davis Guggenheim's film, hundreds of teachers gathered at Riverside Church in uptown Manhattan to vent their frustrations and anger. He linked the documentary with the recent waves of teacher-led protests that seem louder and larger than ever before. Julie Cavanagh, one of the film's producers and a teacher in Red Hook, Brooklyn, minced no words, thanking the audience for gathering "as we battle the corporate reform movement. The movie, created by the Grassroots Education Movement , is both a product and a showcase of teachers and disaffected parents in the New York City school system.