Waiting for "Superman"
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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.
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
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"Waiting for Superman" also gives us hope when describing schools such as Kipp Schools and Charter Schools. Kipp Schools, with no teacher tenure, have also implemented a certain teaching method that is mass producing kids who end up going all the way through college!
Not only do I recommend this film, I recommend and encourage that you watch it, and buy extras to give as presents to every pregnant couple that you know!
But as a middle/high school teacher I didn't appreciate the negative views about teachers. The documentary provided information about the crippling schools in the U.S., which I have witnessed first hand, but I dare say that the blame should not be on the teachers. In all professions there are less competent workers and then there are the average, and then the exceptional ones. In an ideal world everyone is an exceptional doctor, lawyer, teacher, mailman, etc. but this is unrealistic.
I entered the profession many years ago. I had hopes and dreams of making a difference, and maybe I did on some level, however the challenges were above my head. First, the students were at least 2,3 or even 4 years below their grade level in most of the schools where I taught. As a certified reading specialist I know that it takes at least two years of intervention for every one year a child is behind so my job was extremely difficult from the start. Ideally, there are qualified assistants in the classroom to deal with the many behavioral issues and educational needs in the room but in my case there were none in a class of 34. Second, most of my students lived under horrible conditions in the projects or in dangerous neighborhoods, came to school with very limited supplies, if any (basics: pens, notebooks, etc.), most were often hungry having skipped breakfast and sometimes dinner the night before, and a large majority were living in fatherless homes. These were only some of the issues.
In short, the cards are stacked against both the teacher and student. Sure a teacher could devote every waking moment to her students like the teacher in the book Freedom Writers (which I thoroughly loved), but in her case it was at the cost of her marriage.
I worked hard for many years to help educate the disadvantaged youth in both NYC and NJ, but the inner city schools where I taught were filled with students who were years and years behind. Teachers were passing students year after year because they didn't know what else to do. I've tried several schools and realized that it's an upstream battle. My quest to secure a teaching position in one of the many failing schools is over. My last hope was when I asked my school via email for books that I was required to teach for the year based on the core curriculum standards, and they said there were none. Not one book in the curriculum was in stock and they did not plan to order. With this information, I folded my cards.
Waiting for Superman is a sad but true film about the school system in this nation. What is the solution? There are many, but blaming the teachers is not one of them.
I appreciated the facts, Canada's deliverance and his sincere concern for the youth in this nation. I nearly cried when the students in the documentary who deserved a promising future were not chosen in the lottery drawing.
Yes, I would highly recommend viewing this documentary. If more people knew of the truth about the educational system in this country we could collectively fight to make a real change for the sake of the children.