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WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN" (2013)

Geoffrey Canada , Michelle Rhee , Davis Guggenheim  |  PG |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (337 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, Bill Strickland, Randi Weingarten, Bill Gates
  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (337 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AEFZC4U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,711 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
223 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are we failing? How do we succeed? October 8, 2010
By David
Format:DVD
One of the most remarkable components of the film was the discussion of a proposal of Michelle Rhee -- the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system -- to pay teachers in the district up to $140k based on merit, if tenure would be ended in the district. In the world capital of democracy, the teacher union leaders refused to let this proposal go to a union vote.

This short story is nestled into the middle of the film but describes the flavor of the rest of the movie. "Waiting for 'Superman'" is a shock and awe that delivers convincing arguments that good teachers are what matters to student learning but the U.S. school system cannot let shining stars shine or fire the bad apples, and the worse-off neighborhoods are hit the hardest. One of the major arguments of the film is that teacher tenure* has to go. It makes its case for each point with facts, figures, clear arguments, and examples. The film intensely wraps it all together with emotional connections to a half-dozen students followed through the film, each hoping to literally win the lottery and get a spot in a top charter school.

The film isn't all attack, and it shows several success stories in the form of top charter schools. Many of these schools have graduation rates of nearly 100%, and nearly all students go onto college. Interestingly, many of the charter schools take students who were already behind and from neighborhoods with schools that are classified as drop-out factories (where a minority of students graduate).

"Waiting for 'Superman'" examines the problems, and it shows what is possible.

See this film. Understand the issues. Push for reform.

- - -

* Tenure started with professors at universities.
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101 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We have to be our own Superman October 10, 2010
By Robin
Format:DVD
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 research shows the amazing effect that good teaching can have on a very large population of students. But he also presents the corallary. Just as good teaching saves lives, bad teaching destroys them. And unfortunately Americans have allowed a system to develop where good teachers get no rewards and bad teachers are almost never fired. The problem is not necessarily spending. We have more than doubled our per student expenditures since the 1960s (even adjusting for inflation) and are turning out graduates who are not college ready.

Guggenheim follows the history of American schools showing how up until the 1970s American public schools were the best in the world. He shows how the lack of global competition made us look awfully good. Unfortunately schools need to be better then they were fifty years ago, when they were expected to turn out high school classes where 20% of the kids went to college. Nowadays schools need to turn out graduating classes where just about everybody is ready for a four year college--and very few school districts are doing it. To make the story hit home, Guggenheim profiled several students waiting to get into Charter Schools, schools which are run by different rules than most public schools, and have a history of success.
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280 of 368 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading and wrought with omissions... December 4, 2010
Format:DVD
I recommend seeing this documentary for the stories and indelible images (the lottery at the end will stay with you), but I encourage viewers to keep in mind a few facts that the documentary either overlooks or mentions only briefly. It is these omissions that will allow most viewers to leave with two spurious conclusions:

1) Public education everywhere is a failure, and 2) Charter schools are the answer.

First, the documentary conspicuously ignores the issue of inequality created by our current public school funding scheme. Instead, the viewer is told about the major sources of funding (federal, state, and local), but it's never mentioned that the vast majorority of funds come from state and local taxes, with property taxes being the principal determinant of how much is spent per pupil within a school district. The viewer is also told that, on average, we are spending twice as much per pupil than we were 30 or 40 years ago, after adjusting for inflation. What isn't explained is that while the average expenditure has gone up, the range from lowest to highest expenditures has also increased. In other words, the current average is inflated by the fact that some school districts have plenty to spend, so much so that students are given laptops and the schools have pristine facilities. In the movie, viewers get a glimpse of one such school, but it is never explained how such schools can afford all the wonderful amenities and how these schools skew the average per pupil figures; Viewers are just told that some students struggle in those environments too, which of course some do. But when you have huge financial discrepancies between school districts, you also have huge discrepancies in teacher pay, textbook allotments, facilities upkeep, etc., etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter is a teacher and I bought it for ...
My daughter is a teacher and I bought it for her to see, and then another of my daughters became a teacher and she too is inspired!
Published 4 days ago by Denise F.O. D'Ambrosia
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a follow-up!
O.K. as a high school English teacher for the past thirty-five years I can say that this cuts to the bone in a vast number of areas, most particularly concerning the unions. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Yukio
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
More information on why Johnny can't read and the public schools are in such a mess.
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow
Socially eye-opening but completely counter-productive to public discourse in that it presents charter schools as great and the traditional public school system as bad while using... Read more
Published 5 days ago by K. P. Klima
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Muy buena pelicula y las condiciones de entrega fueron adecuadas.
Published 10 days ago by Bebe Sanchez
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
We know the educational system is broken in this country on many levels. This documentary takes the viewer on a glimpse of charter schools that are making education a top priority... Read more
Published 12 days ago by larissa pola
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film. I knew of some of the issues ...
Great film. I knew of some of the issues in the film, but it was still an eye-opener to see how rampant and wide-spread the problems are in the education system. Very well done.
Published 14 days ago by M.M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
AWESOME !!
Published 18 days ago by Bill
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
My husband enjoyed this book

I liked it
Published 19 days ago by Tracey Bradley
4.0 out of 5 stars This film is excellent in many ways
This film is excellent in many ways. I use it to teach about a unit in a university course about education and poverty. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Stephanie G.
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