Review: 'Waiting For Superman'
Davis Guggenheim’s latest documentary covers the problems of the education system and offers solutions. Waiting for “Superman” explains the educational system and the politicians’ promises interspersed throughout children’s own stories. The visual demonstrations clarify all the complicated systems in place, explain the statistics and lay out the geography of school districts.
The honesty of children is sobering. You see first graders without any ego or melodrama, yet talking about what school isn’t giving them, there’s your story right there. You don’t need to go to the parents or the teachers, that’s the story. These are good kids, in elementary school when it’s still cute, not tainted yet.
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The problems with administration are the reality that doesn’t fit with any idealized plan. The system is so uncoordinated that by the time students get to a grade where programs like No Child Left Behind are in place, they’re missing the basics. Obviously, protecting bad teachers is bad. That needs to be reformed. It’s the eternal dilemma of good intentions leading to a bad system. They were trying to give students opportunities with reliable teachers but the mechanics of it got messed up. If the system’s not doing what it’s supposed to, it needs to change.
The teacher’s union is angry about this movie, and I guess you could say it’s one-sided, but then it’s hard to defend giving bad teachers immunity from recourse. Did one union representative go on record to defend their system? I don’t know, maybe they cut that person out. If so, then the union has a case but if they could interview a union rep, I don’t see why they wouldn’t let them dig their own hole. A lot of it speaks for itself. It’s public record, I don’t believe it’s manipulated.
Some of the arguments don’t seem relevant to me, at least not big picture-wise. One moment in the film compares prison costs to education costs, suggesting it’s more economical to educate potential criminals than incarcerate them. That theory is still limited to people prone to crime. If you apply that cost to EVERY person who needs to be educated, you don’t have enough money to school all the non criminals. It’s not a major point in the film but then why make a bold comparison that’s irrelevant?
This is a positive review of Waiting for “Superman” though. It will show people what’s wrong with our educational system and offer steps toward solutions.