Tuesday Morning Review

Tuesday Morning Review

Waiting for “Superman” 2010 PG 111 minutes

I have been a teacher for 11 years. Full disclosure: I am a part-time instructor at Luzerne County Community College. I have taught Music Recording, Acting for Radio/TV and Computers in Mass Media. While my experience is at the level of at least High School graduates I can honestly say that this film shook me to my marrow.

It may be in my genetic make-up. Mom was a teacher. Dad was a Superintendent of schools. Younger Sister teaches. I watched my father struggle with school boards and try to do his best for the kids all his life. When I was just learning my craft of announcing he had me produce a multi-media (back them it was slides, over head projector and reel to reel tape recorder) called “Toward a Better Education.” I would give quite a lot to hear it now. I suspect it was dreadful. I do remember using Bob Dylan’s “The Times they are a changing” and intoning the lyrics, somberly at the end.

Documentaries are a personal pleasure of mine, I watch a lot of them. Some good, some not not so much. This one knocks it out of the park.

Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) puts together a compelling story around several inner-city youth who hope to snag spots in better schools. He comes back to the kids to witness their struggles while he examines the reasons why the schools they want out of are so bad, and why the ones they want so desperately to gain entrance to are better.

Any properly constructed documentary will polarize. That said it’s hard to argue with the facts as Guggenheim lays them out. He carefully uses graphics, animations and other devices to make his case and does it well.

One non-student focused on in the film is Michelle A. Rhee, the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system of Washington, D.C. Rhee is a controversy magnet and draws fire and acclaim in equal amounts to this day. The fact that she managed to find ways around the tenure system where even terrible teachers were untouchable and raise test scores in the process made some big headlines. The jury is still out on her success and her methods but one thing is certain. She effected change.

On the message and comments for this movie the polarization is clear. I will post one comment here, with small amounts redacted for space purposes but I assure you I made no changes.

quixotic59 wrote:

Michelle Rhee is an idiot and this movie is propaganda.

This movie does point out the problem with our education system, but no one sees it. It begins with unqualified egomaniacs like Rhee, Gates, Oprah, and a host of others thinking that they know what is best for schools. They know what is bets to line their pockets and that is it. …. The idiot supervisors, like Michelle Rhee and her cronies, are the idiots hiring bad teachers. Also, it was conveniently left out what a small percentage of teachers are actually incopetent. Of course, no one wnats to ask what parents are doing during this whole fracas. After all, they vote and buy Oprah’s books!!!

Can’t write a proper sentence quixotic59? Who do you blame?

The movie does not just expose and enlighten but it also issues a call to action. The web site http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/action/
offers ways to improve or at least call attention to the issues raised in the film, in your school system.


The Rant D’Jour is from 2007. I have no idea if the baseball teams still do this. I will bet that they do.

I love it when I see two items in the newspapers that stand alone ok but when you read them together make no sense. Recently I saw a story about all you can eat sections…more


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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