Friday, September 24, 2010

Waiting for "Superman" (2010)

The fate of our country won't be decided on a battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom....

Director Davis Guggenheim's look into the public school system. How is it that more and more money is being pumped into the school systems and laws are being passed so that "No Child is Left Behind" but the reading and math scores have flat-lined since the 70's and the rates of students failing has only gone up.

Guggenheim follows 5 children that are all enrolled in public school around the country that are trying to get into prestigious charter schools with high success rates of students throughout high school and college. With such high rates of success though there are to many applicants for the available spots, some as low as 10 spots for over 100 applicants. To get into these schools you have to win a spot through a lottery.

He also goes inside several school systems that have tried reform, including following Michelle Rhee who did dramatic cuts in the District of Columbia. Her efforts though have her going up against the teachers union, which have the teachers first and studens second approach it seems.

Guggenheim does a good job at pointing out many out the many flaws of our academic system but does not give a lot of solutions for it. He shows how we got here, and how a couple of public schools have overcome being in low income neighborhoods, and shown that the right teaching strategies can produce successful students from any neighborhood. The problem is that these are the schools that only a handful of kids can get into every year and have to get the luck of the lottery to get in.

I think that Guggenheim does an excellent job in this documentary and really makes you wonder who is fighting for the youth to succeed. Will there ever be enough schools that aren't "failure factories"? Is there enough Geoffrey Canada's in the country to make a change? I think this is a must see for anyone with children in school.

When to Watch Rating: Makes You Think

Now playing in Select Theaters

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