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Waiting for "Superman" [Blu-ray] (2010)

Geoffrey Canada , Michelle Rhee , Davis Guggenheim  |  PG |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount Vantage
  • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Q6D28W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Waiting for "Superman" [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Four additional inspiring teacher/student stories
Changing the Odds: A look at innovative programs that are changing public education
Public Education Updates: Changes which have taken place since the making of the film
A Conversation with Davis Guggenheim
The Future Is In Our Classrooms
The Making of "Shine": the film’s title track by musician John Legend Commentary by Director Davis Guggenheim and Producer Lesley Chilcott

Editorial Reviews

From the Academy Award-winning Director of An Inconvenient Truth comes the groundbreaking feature film that provides an engaging and inspiring look at public education in the United States. Waiting For “Superman” has helped launch a movement to achieve a real and lasting change through the compelling stories of five unforgettable students such as Emily, a Silicon Valley eighth-grader who is afraid of being labeled as unfit for college and Francisco, a Bronx first-grader whose mom will do anything to give him a shot at a better life. Waiting For “Superman” will leave a lasting and powerful impression that you will want to share with your friends and family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
221 of 268 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 128 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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267 of 351 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 Excellent
The movie articulates many of the obstacles children face in education today - additionally providing some solutions that the establishment finds threatening. An excellent watch.
Published 8 days ago by K P
5.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for Superman
Just simply an excellent documentary on plight of our public school system today. Some children are still waiting for Superman to come to their rescue.
Published 9 days ago by A. Seals
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, if you want to know what's wrong with American education
This documentary is right on with what's happening with American education then and today. Great movie! Read more
Published 10 days ago by deborah verdile
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing more than a promotional video for Charter schools
The movie asserts that charter schools are the answer to problems with education, ignoring the real problem that is parenting. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Ronald W. Moats
1.0 out of 5 stars Charters are a grab for public funds
Know City on a Hill, a college prep high school in Boston with a "100% college acceptance rate"? Of 122 students who started at City on a Hill in 2010, just 56 remain. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Annebanana
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Superman
This is a very eye-opening movie about the school system in this country and how far we have fallen behind.
Published 1 month ago by David21758
3.0 out of 5 stars UPP 101 Project 3
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miriam Silva-Moreno
4.0 out of 5 stars An exit of emergency
Education is one of the essential elements in today's society and is important to our life. By providing a well-developed education to our future generation, we can help to create... Read more
Published 1 month ago by yingying mei
2.0 out of 5 stars Limited analysis
The film reviews a well known difficulty with some school system and hints at easy solutions. The problem is real and a wider anaylsis is needed to find a solution.
Published 1 month ago by E R COFFMAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
It has lots of information I wasn't aware of. I don't give it 5 stars just because I don't know if this movie is only showing once side of the story and it's actually factual or... Read more
Published 1 month ago by juan diaz
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