By Rohan Andresen ’12
“Waiting for Superman,” a well-made documentary by Davis Guggenheim, illustrates how dysfunctional our public school system has become.
It follows the stories of five children, many of whom are from families that struggle economically, who are trying to seek a good education.
Their parents are met with tough obstacles that ultimately lead up to all five students (Daisy, Emily, Francisco, Bianca and Anthony) applying for the lottery that public schools offer.
This lottery is a random selection of what students may be accepted into charter schools in cities ranging from Harlem and Los Angeles, the Bronx and Silicon Valley and Washington D.C., which have limited spots compared to the mass amount of students seeking enrollment.
Between the heart-wrenching stories of these five amazing children, Guggenheim explains what has happened to our school system recently and what is currently hindering its ability to educate the children of our community.
He discusses the outdated teachers’ unions that prohibit change, the tenure that makes it impossible to get rid of unproductive teachers and the schools that are actually bad for the community because they are unable to graduate so many of their students.
The movie also looks to a controversial educational mover, Michelle Rhee, who during the movie was the Chancellor of the District of Columbia’s Public Schools.
She set many contentious ideas and movements into motion that many times were not able to be effective because of the restrictive parents and teacher unions.
In 2007, Morgan Quitno Press did a research study and found that Arizona ranked to be the least intelligent state with the worst public school system.
With our poorly rated public school system, we need to face the education problem head on and find a way to fix it.
Also, currently, in our current recession, there have been many budget cuts to our public schools and the government has threatened to make more to shore up the economy.
Those are not the steps that need to be taken in the “least intelligent” state. This documentary reiterated the need to fix the public school system and not take more money away from it.
Overall, this moving documentary sends out a strident wakeup call to the United States that we cannot keep going with our broken public schools system and expect to still be the world’s superpower.