“Waiting for Superman”

October 15, 2010 at 3:50 am Leave a comment

“Waiting for Superman”


(Review and information we found interesting from the film.)


The film has 5 students and their families that are followed.  Anthony (Washington, DC) and his grandma. Daisy (LA, CA), her mom & dad.  Francisco (Bronx, NY), his mother and dad. Bianca (Harlem, NY), her mom and dad.  Emily (suburbs of SF, CA), her mother and dad.


Geoffrey Canada, who started a charter school (over 15 years age) that covers 97 blocks in Harlem, NY is a main figure in the film.  Also, Michelle Rhee, (Washington, DC Superintendent starting in 2007) is another main person shown in the film.


As you can see by the location of the students and family, the film is following mostly those in poverty and minorities.  All but Emily and her family are living in poverty and are minorities.  An issue that the film addresses is that students in poverty can’t learn and that the achievement gap can’t be closed.  In addition, the film confronts the issues related to good vs. bad teachers, union involvement in education and school administration performance.


Some of the facts the film provides that may not be widely known are;

  1. Nationwide, minority students on average enter 4TH grade with a B average and leave 7TH grade with a D average.
  2. Over 2,000 schools in the U.S. have been identified as drop out schools or failure factors (40% or more students don’t graduate).
  3. Over the last 10 years, 1 in 2,500 teachers have lost their license compare to 1 in 57 doctors and 1 in 97 lawyers losing their license.
  4. U.S. student’s rank compared to the world, 21ST in science, 25TH in math and 1ST in confidence.
  5. Good teachers cover up to 150% of a year’s material in a single school year compared to only 50% for a bad teacher.


Great promise was expected when President Bush and Senator Kennedy got “No Child Left Behind” passed in 2000.  One element of the intent of the legislation that has not been fulfilled is that local parents and school districts would be able to take back control of their community’s education system.  The intent to measure all school’s performance has been done, however they are not comparable from state to state because each state have DIFFERENT levels of what is passing and failure (not national standard).


The film discusses the impact of tenure for K-12 teachers and compares the requirements with those for post secondary professors.  For those that don’t know, post secondary professors earn tenure based on performance, length of service and review by the administration and peers.  Also, post secondary professors are not guaranteed tenure.  K-12 teachers get tenure based on only years of service to a school district (normally about 3 years).


Waiting for Superman shows over the last 40 plus years, the education system in the U.S. has not changed with the world.  The rest of the world’s education systems have adapted to the changes in skills needed, current & future job opportunities and education methods.  The major system still used in the U.S. education system places students on one of three tracks (high, middle or low).


We highly recommend that everyone that has children currently in school, is paying taxes or is interested in education go see “Waiting for Superman”, now showing at the Uptown Theater in uptown Minneapolis.


Those who have already seen the film, please post your commits about the film.  Lets keep the discuss open and flowing.  The website for the file is http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/ .

Some additional postings and comments on “Waiting for Superman” on other blog:





Entry filed under: Education.


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