Waiting for Superman Reviews
Waiting for 'Superman,' filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.
Guggenheim's insistence on not engaging with the injustices that children of certain races and classes face outside of school makes his reiteration of the obvious... seem all the more willfully naive.
This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate
Waiting for 'Superman' won't satisfy anyone looking for a five-point plan. (It won't win many fans among teachers' unions, either.) On the other hand, if it's effective filmmaking you're after, look no further.
The film demonstrates (1) that quality education is possible for even the most disadvantaged students; (2) the cost is low, considering that high school dropouts often turn to crime when they can't find good jobs.
As Guggenheim's camera gives us a close-up of the Educational Lotto, the implication is clear: Why gamble on the future of America's children? Instead of helping some kids beat the odds, how do we change the odds for all kids?
Davis easily ties a sick education system to a sick society. But when it comes down to it, in the end he has no clear cure for what ails us. At the very least, though, he has exposed the disease for all to see.
Guggenheim does not seem aware that extensive educational research has failed to identify what makes a "great teacher" or how to train one, nor that there are strikingly different and conflicting strategies for teaching literacy.