Waiting for ‘Superman’

(sorry…no fancy title this time.)

This widely unknown film is a documentary that tackles the subject of education in America and how it is failing so many of our children. Here is the trailer in case it has flown underneath your “movie radar.”

At the request of a reader of the site…(request was made on TheScarletSp1der’s facebook page), I went to see Waiting for ‘Superman’ once it finally came to my local theater and I am glad I went to see this one.

The phrase “Waiting for ‘Superman'” is explained in the first minute of the film and makes reference to waiting for someone who has enough power to make a change. And in this film, the change that is needed is in the educational system. As is the case with all documentaries, Waiting for ‘Superman’ focuses on its main subject (American education) through sharing the stories of several people and switching back and forth among them. It follows the stories of 5 children and 2 academic pioneering reformers who are fighting for better education in this country. This movie points to several things that are the root cause of the “dropout factories” throughout the nation. A “Dropout Factory” is the term coined for a school that is so bad that it is a known fact that the majority of students in attendance will drop out. There are over 2,000 in the U.S.!

From presidents, to policy-makers, to principals…several in positions of leadership have promised change after change and program after program in order to effectively raise the level of education that our future leaders receive….but nothing really changes. It is quite emotional seeing the battles that the kids, their parents, and the educators that care, have to go through in order to help our children have success not only in school…but in life. The students that the documentary focuses on range from all sorts of walks of life -From the Californian suburbs to the Harlem Innercity- and they all face the same issue. Waiting for ‘Superman’ points out that in most cases, the fault lies not with the children, or the environment, or the state, but with the system itself.

The film sets the foundation and explanation to pave way for the lottery that each kid featured in the film must attend in order to be placed into a charter school with higher success rates than most. Since there are too many applicants every year that seek to have a better chance at a higher education, the schools are forced to hold a lottery of random chance to make it fair. Good education left solely up to chance. We watch as the lotteries take place in hope, anxiety, and anticipation. Imagine your education lying in the hands of chance! Sounds like something you’d expect from a “less-developed” country!

Waiting for ‘Superman’ is definitely an eye-opener…as all documentaries hope to be. It does accomplish its goal in that it hopes to shed light on this subject to the world so that it may invoke a change via the viewers. Some see films like this as propaganda or hogwash, others see them as the absolute truth. Whatever your outlook is on the education system in America, the truth is…something needs to change. This film helps show that and presents a strong case for change. Someday Superman may come.

btw, if documentaries aren’t your “thing” then may I recommend watching these movies instead. They all deal with the same or similar issues: Dangerous Minds, Lean On Me, and Stand and Deliver. I was reminded of these films while watching Waiting for ‘Superman.’

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy watching!

The Sp1der’s Score: Overall: 8.5 out of 10 stars “Waiting for ‘Superman'”

I highly recommend watching this one. For those of you in my area, it unfortunately will only be featured in the local theater thru Thursday 11-18-10.

A special “Thank You” to L.J. who requested a review on the film…and to my friend TheFireCracker who was the only other person in the theater with me while we watched it.

up next: review for Skyline and “Movie News Monday!”

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