‘Waiting for Superman’

Published on May 8, 2011 by

“Waiting for Superman” is the title of the documentary that was shown on movie channels throughout the nation a few months ago. It’s about the huge problems that public educational systems are experiencing all across the United States. The film’s message is simple and direct: We (the United States) are Superman and we should be able to find solutions to the out-of-control problems plaguing our nation’s public educational systems.

One should always be careful when taking sides with a movie or documentary because often there are other points of view that show a better picture of the theme or issue in question. But in this case, the documentary hit the nail right on the head. The film takes us to various cities across the nation, where we discover the same sad situation in most of our public schools: decreasing academic achievement. And despite the reasons for this downward trend being well known, no one seems to be taking them seriously.

On a scale of 1 to 10, we give a 9.5 in favor of this documentary. It illustrates clearly and simply how many teachers are not putting in their best effort to teach our children. Instead, they are focusing on the salary without any concern for student achievement. The documentary effectively shows how the decisions of some teachers’ unions are irresponsible and negligent, which adds to the problem. Specifically, some harmful union actions include retaining teachers who are performing at a low level, suggesting salary increases for teachers with poor records and denying incentives to high performers and dedicated teachers.

The documentary not only uses examples to illustrate system negligence, but also offers a solution to improve the student education level. The film demonstrates how approving more funds does not necessarily guarantee a better education for students by using statistics to show how, throughout the years in many cities, more and more funds are allocated for education purposes, but education levels decrease.

The documentary covers various issues that are clearly seen in many cities and towns, such as how the system allocates funds in a disproportionate manner to administrative salaries as compared to matters directly involved in students education. It reveals excessive use of administrative cellular service for individuals within the system and its staff, and highlights the use the uncontrolled amounts of money for lawyer fees that are related in part to uncontrolled administrative actions and lawsuits.

“Waiting for Superman” reveals pervasive, multiple problems within our public school systems across the nation and points out that by providing our students with good educations, we can attack other national problems such as unemployment, crime, immigration and emigration. The United States is the most developed country in the world, the film tells us, but it is positioned close to the bottom in education among developed countries.

In summary, the documentary challenges viewers with this message: Do not wait for Superman. YOU are Superman. What are you doing to improve education in your hometown?

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