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Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces

  • May 30, 2011

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 that show how, to what extent, and in what ways, our system is failing. Sins of omission are inevitable, but while much of the prognosis and fingers pointed are correct, there are cultural factors that are sometimes glossed over. (Sometimes teachers are expected to be parents and counselors--as well as mentors--no small task(s).)  The maverick educators and administrators like Geoffrey Canada and Michelle Rhee, speak volumes about a continuing prescription to do better.  (As a footnote, as bold and brave as Ms. Rhee was, she was inevitably fired as the Superintendent of our nation's capital's schools.)

Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces Superlative Documentary with a Few Missing Pieces

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May 30, 2011
Hi, JP! I'll have to see this real soon. I am just a sucker for a good doco.
May 30, 2011
Many water coolers have been the place of brimming conversation. It isn't complete, and it isn't perfect, but everyone should see it.
May 30, 2011
A major problem in public schools is caused by the special ed laws. I'm not talking about kids with physical handicaps, but those with severe behavioral problems who continually interfere with the learning of others. One of the reasons why I left my 22 year career in education was that some of these students posed serious threats to safety.
May 30, 2011
I hope you're doing well, Katknit. Everyone needs to be safe in our schools. Teachers, when they are dedicated, and the vast majority are, still have daunting challenges facing them every day. Thanks for your comments, and I hope you have (or will) see the documentary, too. :>)
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 . 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 …
review by . May 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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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, Waiting For Superman, American Public Eduction


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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