Waiting for Superman

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.

One thought on “Waiting for Superman

  1. This really resonates with me – I have spent my entire career in a vulnerable socioeconomic area – first in the state system, now in the Catholic system. The key really is to look at a strengths based approach towards learning. I have had several parents disclose to me that they can not read, the AEDI data collected last year was a community snapshot and highlighted the need for a more systemic approach to learning. In the area I teach and care and live a significant part of my life as part of the community as a teacher I see that a strengths based program with better services and access to Early Intervention and Prevention would be key. We see at the grass roots when children sit on waiting lists for up to 2 years for receptive and expressive language delays, children coming to school not having their Preschool ‘blue book’, assessment prior to school entry to prevent developmental delays. How can these children achieve to their full potential?
    My superman would provide a teaching/ learning utopia by truly embracing the child and supporting all spheres of influence. Schools would have easy access to speech therapists, occupational therapists, optometrists and adult education services, counsellors, Preschools on site. Costly? Yes. However, the nation would be saving millions in the long run. I see the vision as contemporary hubs to strengthen and build upon what ALL learners already posess and then we will see personal bests, growth, happy communities and a shared vision for learning. We need to look at the holistic development of the child within their context. Working in an open learning environment has demonstrated how a strengths based approach can build capacity, I learn from my peers every day. Wouldn’t more cohesive access to health services help us to engage our learners more? It takes a village to raise a child… Come on village we are ready for you…

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