Waiting for Superman | Documentary Review
Education is important. And the education system in the United States is broken. That's what I took away from Waiting for "Superman", a documentary film by David Guggenheim. While not a flashy documentary, the stories followed in this film were woven together well. Quite an amazing fact considering the vast scope of material that this film covers.
In the 1970's the United States was among the world leaders in education. Now, among industrialized nations, the United States ranks near the bottom. So much so that American companies in Silicon Valley must reach outside of our borders to hire the people with the right qualifications to move their businesses forward. Systems that were put in place in a post World War II society have not been changed since the end of the war. Society has moved on but the systems used to educate the youth through public school systems has not.
Teachers unions came across as a large part of the reason for the inadequacies in the public education sector. For reasons well defined and needed a generation ago, teachers unions today, according to the film, are much, if not the main, hindrance in opening up new systems that allow for more accountability and incentive programs for teachers.
Waiting for Superman does not play the role of Superman with regard to solving the education crisis facing the United States. By this I mean that this film does not offer the solution. It focuses on some strong individuals within a number of different school districts across the country and places them just below "hero" status as examples of what it takes and will take to rebuild the education system. But this film does little to point the viewer into which solution is best. Or for that matter, Waiting for Superman does little to show what actually can be done. If there is a sense of activism behind the film its simple; we have to care about our children and our future. Be part of the system that you are in, even if it is broken. Waiting for Superman to come and save the day cannot be our plan.
Good film. Well structured. With just the right amount of fun graphics and music to keep a dismal story entertaining.