The new documentary "Waiting for Superman" makes clear the dismal state of American public schools. But forces of change are aligned now more than ever before. Three key factors create a real possibility for education reform.
The recently released documentary, “Waiting For Superman,” paints a discouraging future for America’s schools. Director Davis Guggenheim spent a year following five students in struggling public school districts, chronicling the stark failures of the education system around them.
One of the film’s trailers tells us, “In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. That’s... 1.2 million a year. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.”
Those five students are the stories behind the statistics. Their parents desperately want a good education for their children, but their hands are tied by the system’s shortcomings – which Mr. Guggenheim exposes.
I know how he feels. I have been working for 50 years as a public school teacher, administrator, government official, locally elected official, and college professor. And while Mr. Guggenheim has an accurate and astute idea of the school system’s failings, I see something far more encouraging.
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