Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying "drop-out factories" and "academic sinkholes," methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.Written by
Sundance Film Festival
There is a scene in which Bianca, one of the little girls, is reading from a book about someone taking apples and bringing them into the city to sell. The book she is reading is called "The Giving Tree" written by Shel Silverstein. See more »
Written and Performed by Michael Brook
Courtesy of Canadian Rational
Under license from The Bicycle Music Company See more »
Our System is Broken
Greetings again from the darkness. The system is broken. I am neither a teacher, Union official or politician ... simply a U.S. citizen who sees a real problem with a public education system that seems to adequately serve very few.
After viewing Davis Guggenheim's documentary, I find it fascinating to read some of the comments made. To my eye, the film does not blame any one group for the problems - though lousy teachers and a misguided union do take some serious criticism. Shouldn't they? The film makes the point that excellent teachers and principals can definitely make a difference. The specific subject families show caring, involved parents and eager to learn children. Of course, not every family or child fits this definition. But shouldn't the system work for the engaged parents and students?
There is no shortage of blame in this game - politicians, unions, teachers, administrators, parents and rowdy kids. Regardless of the situation, it's clear that the overall system is flawed, especially in lower income areas. Do neighborhoods drag the school down or is it vice versa? To me, it doesn't matter. The system should reward the teachers, parents and children who do want to teach and learn.
Regardless of your politics or personal involvement in education, I commend Mr. Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth") and Mr. Gates and Ms. Rhee for rocking the boat ... for getting the questions asked in a public forum. This movie should inspire much debate and discussion - typically the beginning of real improvement and change. Let's hope this is the needed start to finding a better system.
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