ERIC Number: EJ918049
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
Reviewing Policy: Starting the Wrong Conversations--The Public School Crisis and "Waiting for Superman"
Swalwell, Katy; Apple, Michael W.
Educational Policy, v25 n2 p368-382 Mar 2011
The documentary "Waiting for Superman" has become one of those rare things, a (supposed) documentary that generates a wider audience. It also is one of the more recent embodiments of what Nancy Fraser (1989) labels as the "politics of needs and needs discourses." Dominant groups listen carefully to the language and issues that come from below. They then creatively appropriate the language and issues in such a way that very real problems expressed by multiple movements are reinterpreted through the use of powerful groups' understandings of the social world and of how we are to solve "our" problems. This is exactly what is happening in education; and it is exactly what this film tries to accomplish. We critically examine the arguments and assumptions that the film makes, as well as how it makes them. In the process, we demonstrate how it elides crucial questions, contradicts many of its own claims, and acts to close off the kinds of substantive discussions that are essential for serious educational reforms.
Descriptors: Educational Change, Films, Documentaries, Social Influences, Unions, Charter Schools, Public Schools, Interviews, Vignettes, Urban Schools, School Choice, Politics of Education, Web Sites, Racial Factors, Equal Education, Educational Quality
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://sagepub.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States