‘Waiting for Superman’ Takes Hard Look at American Public Schools

Waiting for Superman Takes Hard Look at American Public Schools

Waiting for Superman Takes Hard Look at American Public Schools

Davis Guggenheim addressed climate change in his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.  Four years later, he is back and tackling an issue much closer to home for many Americans.

Guggenheim’s latest documentary, Waiting for Superman, delves into the state of the American public school system.  The picture the film paints is grim as it follows a group of children from the far-reaching corners of the United States.  The documentary follows the children as their parents attempt to find them better educational options than the large public schools where they are currently enrolled.  Ultimately, alternatives to public school for the families are difficult to come by due to the high cost of private schools.

The film attempts to take a hard look at the downfalls of the American school systems.  Where classrooms are too large, supplies too limited, and progress seems to have come to a halt.  Guggenheim opens the film by announcing his decision to send his own children to private school.

Aside from the children, the film focuses on the Teacher’s Unions and the concept of tenure and merit pay for teachers.  The issue is highlighted throughout the film by the battle between the union and Washington, D.C. school system Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

The documentary, touching and thought provoking for those having gone through the American school system, forces viewers to reflect on their own experience in the system.  While the film points out many of the problems holding the system from moving forward, it spends little time fingering anyone with blame, and more time attempting to provide solutions to the high drop-out rate and low reading and math scores that plague America’s public schools.


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