“waiting for superman” film review/reflection


This is one of those must-see, important documentaries that I feel a lot of people need to see. Maybe not necessarily everyone on the planet, but probably most American parents, educators, kids and those who are concerned about education.

I had been hearing about this film for a while and also watching reports and specials on CNN about education reform and the problems with public school systems. And trust me, it’s not like I didn’t know they existed before they were on TV. While I’ll say that for the most part, I went to a very good high school, things aren’t as sunny as they used to be, and probably were a bit worse than I realized when I was in school. But I’m getting off track a little bit.

This documentary is indeed about the failing public schools, while also informing the audience of other options, like charter or magnet schools that you need to apply to get in. Some of them are free as long as you live in the area, some, well… not so much. But the other problem is that with these schools that are performing much better than public school, families are fighting to get their kids in and there just aren’t enough spaces available. I think the point that’s being made is this: why aren’t all our schools as good as these special ones? But I’m jumping ahead of myself I think.

I’m stealing the following from Wikipedia: The film’s title is based on an interview with Geoffrey Canada who said he has waited for a “Superman” type hero or revelation to improve the American education system.

The film got me riled up. I’m already a supporter of education and teachers that really have an effect on their students. This film taught me a thing about “tenure” and it makes me wonder if any of my teachers I didn’t like were a product of that. But again, I think I got a pretty good education. However a lot of it was from my parents pushing me to work hard, and then to work harder. I’ve been programmed to see a “C” as an “F”. So I think that maybe, had I been in a not so great school system, I probably still would’ve succeeded. And here I am again talking about my own past.

I will admit, I almost got a little choked around the end of the film. Why? Well as the film goes on, we learn about the different school systems and why they are the way they are, and the people that’s working to get a better system going. We also meet five children and their parents who want a better option than to be stuck in a failing school system. And to be fair, not all of them are failing (the schools, not the students) but if you get into a great school, you have a higher chance at achieving a dream you might have. By no means am I saying these kids can’t achieve their goals because they went to a “dropout factory” but some of the stats presents didn’t look promising.

Besides my passion for education, and reflecting on my own education, my other personal connection to this is my own niece who currently attends one of these special schools they talked about. So as long as she does her best and overcomes odds, she’ll get a free ride into college. When that happens, I will be a very proud uncle and shall brag about her to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The sad part, again, is the same question: why can’t all our schools be like this? What’s wrong with the public school system? How can we fix it? Well my fellow Indoobians, watch the film to find out. I highly recommend it. And for those that bore easily, there are fun animations throughout to help illustrate the points being made, mixed with the cute faces of tomorrow.

Also, John Legend is all over the credits. And the credits are fun to watch. …Well, for a graphic geek it might be.

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2 comments on ““waiting for superman” film review/reflection
  1. jaden says:

    I went to private school for 1st and 2nd grade, then public school to the end. I swear I learned more in 1st and 2nd grade than the next 10 years in public school. Terrible. Thanks for the recommend. Will tell all my friends with children about this movie. They will be interested and deal with this hell of trying to get a good education for their kids. Education and the health care system are the two most F’d up things in the USA.

    • t. sterling says:

      I completely agree and love you a little bit more for saying that (about our education and health care). I liked “Sicko” a lot too.

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