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Waiting For Superman / A Documentary On Education
I finally got around to watching “Waiting For Superman”. I have been teaching for ten years and when people find out what I do they inevitably ask have I seen this movie. Now my answer can be “Yes, I have”.
There was not a lot of new or shocking information revealed to me in this documentary. As a teacher, many of the faculty meetings I have attended bring these topics up on a regular basis. That being said, Waiting For Superman was beautifully put together. I particularly appreciated how they showed the complexity of the problem. There is not one thing that needs fixing, but a list of issues that have to be addressed. It is not a matter of throwing more money at the problem. Most importantly different schools and students are going to have different challenges.
The visual graphics paired with the facts and statistics were wonderfully executed. Although, I am always hesitant when I hear statistics. They are a great way to show what you want them to show, but do not always give the full picture. Things that I felt could have been addressed more were the problems in comparing children whose primary language is something other than English to those of native English speakers. This bring up a host of challenges not only in English class but in all subjects. To these students they are being taught in a foreign language. The other part that needed to be addressed with these statistics is the parents who have the money and resources to help their children succeed are not enrolling them in public school. It becomes a vicious cycle. The thing that kept crossing my mind as I watched this film was the children that go to these charter schools already have one huge advantage. Their parents/guardians are willing and able to put the time and effort into making sure their children get a good education. That can be a huge part of the battle.
I loved this movie. It cannot be expected to have one movie fully address all the issues involved in such a complex topic. Waiting For Superman did a wonderful job of painting the picture. It not only showed us the issues we must deal with, but gave us the hope that there is a solution out there. We can fix our education system. A student’s education should not be determined by a lottery.