ERIC Number: EJ900608
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-1
Reference Count: N/A
Anticipation and Controversy Surround "Superman" Release
Aarons, Dakarai I.
Education Week, v30 n2 p1, 10-11 Sep 2010
Well in advance of its official release, the education film "Waiting For Superman" has attracted a level of attention that could make it one of the year's most-watched documentaries--and one of the most controversial among educators, some of whom question its depictions of the American school system and how to improve it. Made by director Davis Guggenheim, who won a 2006 Academy Award for "An Inconvenient Truth," and producer Lesley Chilcott, it follows five students and their families on a quest for a better education. The film is scheduled to open in limited release in Los Angeles and New York City on Sept. 24 and expand to selected cities through Oct. 15. Guggenheim is forthright in saying he wants the film to have an impact on the national discussion of education comparable to that of "An Inconvenient Truth" on the issue of climate change. But others see the film as cheerleading for charter schools and putting teachers' unions in an unfairly negative light. Its descriptions of teacher tenure have been criticized by teacher bloggers and others, as has the fact the students featured are looking toward nontraditional public schools as the cure for their education ills. Guggenheim rejects any notion that his film is anti-union or promotes charters as a silver bullet. He said he believes that unions are "essential," and that there are many great mainstream public schools. But education activists and analysts are intrigued--and, in some cases, skeptical--about the film's potential for engaging a wider public in school issues.
Descriptors: Charter Schools, Unions, Documentaries, Educational Change, Climate, Public Schools, Educational Improvement, Films, Social Action, College Presidents, Teachers
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; District of Columbia; New York