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'Waiting for Superman' to reform education? He's already here.

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.

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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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