If the success of An Inconvenient Truth in raising our collective consciousness is anything to go by, then Waiting for Superman will challenge and hopefully change long-held assumptions about schooling.
Waiting for Superman is a documentary-film about the deteriorating state of America’s public education system. It is an honest, confronting and challenging expose. Essential viewing for system leaders, teachers, parents and politicians.
The documentary charts decades of failed policy agenda, escalating costs and continual decline in student achievemant and participation. It follows several students and chronicles their experiences – a human face to the raw statistics.
Despite this, there is a hope. The film makes the point that after all the failed attempts at improvement we now know what needs to be done and it’s not complex.
We need good teachers who are engaged in the practice of learning and teaching. And we need to be serious about under performance. Examples of the “rubber room” and the “lemon dance” (where at the end of each school year principals get together and agree on transferring the poor performing teachers to each other schools) makes me hang my head in shame that we allow this to continue to happen.
Waiting for Superman lays the blame at the feet of poor teachers, complacent and complicit unions, poor system leadership and myopic government policy. Responsibility lies with those who are accountable at every level in the school system.
The last minutes of the film will stick with me a long time. A professional in the field for over three decades laments the state of US schools and observes that he now knows why, “schools are for adults because the kids don’t matter”.
Watch the trailer below.