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A 2 Hour Commercial for Charter Schools

  • May 18, 2011
Documentarian Davis Guggenheim is some kind of miracle worker. He's managed, twice now, to make documentaries that get lots of attention and accolades and even significantly affect the national debate on an important issue, but really, aren't that good. First, there was "An Incovenient Truth," which was an important subject, for sure, but as a film, was hardly more than Al Gore narrating a Powerpoint presentation. Now comes "Waiting for Superman," which, while it is more dynamic that "Truth," takes such a simplistic, magic pill approach to a complicated issue that it's hard for me to believe people are even taking it seriously.

The big important problem this time around is the declining performance of America's education system. Students are trapped in bad schools because they live in bad neighborhoods, and no matter how hard they work, it's virtually impossible for them to get a good education, because they have bad teachers who are protected by the teacher's unions. "Waiting for 'Superman'" follows a couple of students who enter the lottery system to get out of their terrible public schools and into better-performing charter schools. They can do nothing to affect their chances of getting into these schools; it literally is a lottery, sometimes conducted publicly with bingo balls. The film generates a certain tension and suspense as we root for these students to get into the better schools. Some do, some don't.

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May 18, 2011
I have this on my list, but I have tons of docos I want to see....have you seen Burma VJ and My trip to Al Quada? Those were pretty good HBO docos.
May 18, 2011
I did see Burma VJ; my review is here, if you're interested.  Haven't seen the other one.  I don't watch a lot of docs, but the next few on my list are "Restrepo" and "The Tillman Story" - both war docs.  
May 18, 2011
awesome! I heard about Restrepo....let me know once you've seen it
More Waiting For Superman reviews
review by . April 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Waiting for Superman is an interesting and somber documentary for its portrayal of the state of education in the United States.  It is interesting, because it depicts the predicament of a number of real students from various backgrounds and areas of the country as their parents attempt to enroll them in a charter school.  It is somber, because it uses statistics and historical data to reveal the desperate condition of education in our society and the crisis that looms because of it.   …
review by . May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces
Waiting for Superman does an unflinching job of diagnosing and illustrating the problems of today's public school system. Citing statistics with great visualization, the focal points, nevertheless, are on about a half dozen candidates for local charter schools across the nation. Beginning and ending with the charter school lottery, the narrator aptly tells us our children's education should not be left to chance. The movie is illuminating for the videos, human interest stories, and headlines …
review by . October 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
In Waiting for Superman, David Guggenheim's riviting documentary about America's school systems, he asks the question many parents have been asking. If our teachers are central to the performance of a school, how can we reconcile poor performance with an uncritical view of teachers? Are bad schools only in slums? Can children brought up in poverty excel in school? Waiting for Superman is not an attack on teachers. If anything its a testament to the critical importance of good teachers. Guggenheim's …
About the reviewer
Willie Krischke ()
Ranked #188
I write reviews for the Durango Telegraph, Indian Life, StudentSoul.org, TheKnifeFight.com, and other publications from time to time.
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About this movie


Waiting for Superman
 is a 2010 family documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. The film analyzes the failures of American public education by following several students through the educational system.

The film received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

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Education, Documentary, Schools, Public Schools, American Public Eduction, Waiting For Superman


Director: Davis Guggenheim
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: January 22, 2010 (Sundance Film Festival)
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Electric Kinney Films
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