A while ago I had the opportunity to see the documentary Waiting for Superman, which I have wanted to watch for a long time because issues in education interest me. I thought it was definitely worth watching. The movie explains some of the education problems we are facing in our nation as it follows five students’ attempts to find better schooling and a better life. One review from the Huffington Post said, “Guggenheim’s new film, Waiting For Superman, is nothing less than a wake-up call to all Americans. It is both a searing indictment of our education system and a desperate call-to-action to save our struggling schools.” Another review from Cinematical.com said, “[Waiting for Superman is] full of refreshingly honest insights and some powerfully upsetting statistics.”
I have to agree that it is a powerful and moving production. It was filled with statistics and facts that really upset me and showed the need for education reform. They also presented some ways to move forward with education by explaining ideas like charter schools and teacher accountability so all children, no matter where they live or what background they come from, can have access to quality education. I was quite affected by the show. It was incredibly moving to see parents and children desperately trying to get better schooling by attempting to get into charter schools. It was distressing to see how heartbroken most of them were after not getting a spot in a charter school they had desperately hoped for. I think it showed that there is a lot we need to do to improve our education, because education truly is the basis for everything: equal opportunity, a productive economy, new innovation, and better people. I would definitely agree with the magazine L.A. Parent who said, “A must-see film for every parent, actually, every American.”
However, some have criticized the show for being too simplistic and leaving out important information, like how many charter schools fail or how some public schools excel. The National Education Policy Center said, “While it raises issues that demand attention, including achievement gaps, high dropout rates in some schools and districts, and the need for committed, well-prepared teachers, it offers solutions that are simplified, ignore research evidence, and are built on false assumptions.” These are definitely important points to keep in mind while watching the movie. But regardless of its accuracy, I think it has done a good job of sparking debate on how to improve education.