Waiting (or Not) for Superman

The documentary “Waiting for Superman” has stirred up conversation and debate about one of our nation’s biggest concerns—the state of public education. A follow-up campaign is under way to fix education. NOT Waiting for Superman, initiated by Rethinking Schools, says the film got the message all wrong.
Waiting for Superman
Got kryptonite?

Superman could change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in his bare hands, but is he strong enough to lift America’s education system to greatness?

“Waiting for Superman” has been called everything from “powerful, passionate, and potentially revolution-inducing” to “complete nonsense."

With great emotion, the documentary follows five children who passionately want coveted spots at a charter school.  Throughout the documentary, familiar issues are touched on: bad teachers, unions, test scores, charter schools, and public schools.  And, you’re introduced to some education reform “superheroes.” You can’t help but root for the five kids.  But the film is only the beginning.  Director David Guggenheim wants to inspire social change and get people to take action for better schools.  A “Waiting for Superman” initiative to fix our public schools is under way in cities across the country.


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Education nonprofit and publisher Rethinking Schools thinks the message of “Waiting for Superman” is negative and disrespectful to teachers, parents, and communities working hard in today’s public schools—so it started a project to talk back to the film and the message it promotes.  NOT Waiting for Superman asks why there was no discussion of race, poverty, and testing in the documentary. Instead of helping people understand the many real problems schools face and what it will take to address them, NOT Waiting for Superman believes the film presents misleading information and simplistic solutions that will make it harder for those working to help public schools improve and succeed. “It’s as if someone made a film about global warming and did not mention cars, oil companies, or carbon dioxide.”

These two  groups offer disparate points of view, but they both agree on one thing: there is work to be done to improve our public schools so that all kids get the education they deserve.

We encourage you to explore both websites and continue the conversation. Be assured there is plenty to talk about.