Waiting for “Superman”: A must-watch documentary

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary that digs deeper to explore the statistics of the American education system. He follows five children and their parents journey to do everything in their power to get them a better education.

It was incredibly hard to watch these kids and their parents, each so committed to getting a better education, not able to get anywhere, simply because of where they’re living. A few of these kids’ stories really got to me, and here is one  that got to me the most:

Daisy

Daisy lives in East Los Angeles and is in the 5th grade. She works hard and is determined to go to college. She already knows where she wants to go and has written to the college, asking that she be accepted. Her dream is to be a doctor, but Daisy is about to enter one of the worst performing schools in Los Angeles. In her neighborhood, 6 out of 10 students don’t graduate high school… Daisy’s parents do everything they can to support their daughter because they want her to defy the odds and graduate, but private school isn’t an option… but right down the street from their home is one of the best charter schools in Los Angeles: KIPP LA PREP… KIPP’s students rank among the best in Los Angeles and its demanding program will prepare Daisy for college in ways that her neighborhood public school cannot. But with 135 applicants for 10 spots, Daisy has a 14% chance of getting in. (excerpt from waitingforsuperman.com)

To get their children the best education they can, parents across the country are forced to go to these public-private schools where they can likely come out with the ability to go to college. The point they don’t really focus on here in the movie is the class sizes. It’s fairly obvious that kids from K-12 are going to succeed when there’s a class size of 10. Teachers can focus more on students and they can get that tailored learning experience; something not possible in the public system with ballooning class sizes.

One of the education reformers highlighted in the film was Michelle Rhee. She is the Chancellor for the D.C. school system, and has been since 2007. Her main goal has been to tear up the system, which was failing, by getting rid of the ineffective management at the top and funnel that money back to the schools. In the documentary it clearly shows she means business because she was facing many angry people who didn’t like the prospect of losing their jobs.

There is so much more I could go on about this movie, but I really feel it’s worth watching. It’ll stir all your emotions and put faces, young faces, to the education problem. I found the movie very engaging and got me wanting to learn more about Canada’s system and where it’s at. I give Waiting for “Superman” 5/5.

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