In a new documentary, Waiting for Superman, filmmaker Davis Guggenheim provides us with a real-life look into how the American education system is seen and experienced through the eyes of five American kids.
“As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying ‘drop-out factories’ and ‘academic sinkholes,’ methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems,” writes the Sundance Films Festival.
The daunting reality is that many of the kids in the film’s cast won’t have a chance to experience the so-called promise of a great American education. The movie starkly shows the deep and bleeding cracks in the public American school system.
While this may all sound desperate and dismal, Waiting for Superman is not just a movie. The documentary transformed into a full-blown movement that has inspired millions, from President Obama to 10-time Grammy winner T Bone Burnett and from local school boards to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Waiting for Superman is a campaign that encompasses four core values:
1. Setting academic standards that are on par with the world’s best.
2. Recruiting and rewarding great teachers.
3. Creating and nurturing excellent schools.
4. Increasing literacy rates.
The campaign is filled with action ideas anyone can do to “fix education.”
Here are just a few you can participate in:
- Volunteering at a school as a teacher, tutor or simply to help out in the classroom.
- Mentor young students.
- Work with your local school board. Make your opinion heard and encourage the board to train and reward teachers.
- Donate money or materials to fund a classroom project.
- Join your local Waiting for Superman movement and get involved.
The motivation and enthusiasm is clear. The question is how long can we really afford to wait?
To learn more about what you can do, visit the Waiting for Superman action website.