Waiting for Superman [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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An act of moral, political and civilian investigation through a documentary that is quite usual and common but strong and clear.
The film attacks teachers and teacher's unions, claiming that it is bad teachers and unions blocking reform that are the source of all the woes of modern education. This assertion is made in the context that schools in the U.S are now ranked 15th for English and 24th for Mathematics amongst the developed nations. What it fails to admit, during it's dire depiction of U.S education, is that most of those nations that enjoy more success also possess a strong, unionised teaching force.
Guggenheim seems to put the charter school system on a pedestal in his documentary, focusing on the success of the Harlem Success Academy, whist washing over the fact that only 1 in 5 Charter schools achieve good results. To put it another way, 80 percent only do as well as, or worse than, most state schools.
Also not mentioned is the amount of money that has been poured into the Harlems Children Zone, despite the fact that early on the idea that money is the real issue is tossed aside by the documentary. Tens of millions of dollars have been pumped in to create excellent family services and a state of the art school. Small wonder then that the families featured in the film are clamouring to get into the Academy.
This film would be a joke (albeit in poor taste) if it weren't so bad; it's argument is that superficial.Read more ›
The film highlights the failings of a vast system, starting with the many thousands of `drop out factories' - schools where less than 40% of students manage to graduate with a high school diploma.
Millions of students pass through these schools every year, are utterly failed by the system, and have their prospects pretty much eradicated.
Now a sensible response to this is to note that it's not easy to teach kids in really troubled catchment zones - try disciplining a child that's accustomed to getting beaten at home, or whose parents are junkies. Which is why the movie then moves to the charter schools who have been set up in the some of the worst area's in the country and are able to send 90%+ of their enrolment to 4 year colleges.
Waiting for Superman does make the point that only a minority of Charter schools can achieve these results, and also has important points about the impact of tracking on good middle class schools, but I feel that all this is just setting up the real issue, and one that is common across the Western World - that the education system has been captured by the teachers unions and bureaucrats, who make it impossible to reward a good teacher or fire a bad one, and that all those crappy teachers (who we've all encountered) stay in education failing to teach anything to kids, year after year for decades. The kids are stuck with the local school unless their parents have the money to opt out, even though the parents were failed by the same school a generation earlier.Read more ›
And I think this apply almost everywhere in the world - if not, probably soon will be!
Do your homework if you care about your children!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really eye-opening documentary which will make you glad you were educated in the UK!Published 2 months ago by Janey
Insightful and frustrating insight into the oppostion to better schooling for all.Published 8 months ago by Timothy1
This sis a movie that you buy to proselytize all you r mates with ; if you liked 'the house i live in'Published 13 months ago by Matt Prince