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Waiting for Superman

Economist Mark Perry runs the blog Carpe Diem, full of good news stories about the economy (yes, you can actually find good news sometimes). Today he posted a trailer for a new movie and a snippet of a review. Watch the trailer and see if it looks interesting.

From the review:

Guggenheim's documentary focuses on aspiring students and their parents, mostly minorities, together struggling against the odds to get admitted into urban charter schools. Lacking the money for private schools, or move to the suburbs where the schools are better -- although not always good -- having only neighborhood high schools that are "drop out factories," these Americans have very few options. For many their only option is finding a decent charter school. But the odds for these young students to get selected in the lottery for a charter school is often worse than for students applying to Yale University.

And the film has villains. The clearly marked, cleared attacked villain that stands in the doorway to reforming our failing system of public education. The two major teacher unions! The two major teachers unions that together are the largest contributors to the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party that refuses to support legislation to require teachers to perform better and the Democratic Party that refuses to support legislation for the more innovative, less bureaucratic, effective charter schools.

The director of "Waiting for Superman" also directed "An Inconvenient Truth", but I wouldn't hold that against him.
Coming this fall to a theater near you.


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Comments (36)

Would that be the same Demo... (Below threshold)

Would that be the same Democratic Party that pulled the financial rug out from under the D.C. charter school initiative THAT WAS ACTUALLY SHOWING POSITIVE RESULTS?

Unlike the Obama/Ayers Chicago program that spent millions and accomplished NOTHING.

How will they ever learn? I... (Below threshold)

How will they ever learn? In truth I guess you dont learn emotions which is a center of liberalism you just have them and good intentions to..

As a former educator I can ... (Below threshold)

As a former educator I can tell you exactly what the hell is wrong with Public Education...it's real simple. I want you to stand up, go into the bathroom, turn on the lights and look hard into the mirror, what do you see? That is the reason for it!!

I'm a conservative but am SICK and FREAKING tired of everyone blaming the unions, the government, the little green men from mars, for the state of public education. The thing is this is PUBLIC education and you have more control over it than they do!! No one wants to do anything b/c the majority of us live in nice suburbs where our schools are not failing or we have the means and where with all to send our kids to private schools and or home school.

We as a society have allowed the Federal government to become overly involved in our shcools, with burndonsome paperwork, out of control students under 504 and CWD(citizins with disabilities) act legalese that puts out of control, behavior problem children in classes where they are allowed to disrupt at will.

We as a society have passed bond after bond to build Taj Mahal admin buildings and sports complexes instead of putting that into teacher salaries and rention of good teacher programs.

We as a society have not allowed protection for teachers from frivilous lawsuits, so that many feel the need to spend their $37 in Union dues, so they get the legal protection to save themselves and their future.

I personally never joined a Union b/c I was truly bothered by their political stances, and in some right to work states like Texas they have no power what so ever. Yet the same problems still apply, why? Because of the fact that the problems with education can't be placed at the door step of one group.

The leftists and by extension their leader Obama do the same thing...blame, blame, blame and take no responsibility. When we blame, blame blame the unions and teachers we sound just like them which is truly sad.

Are unions self serving and out of control in some areas of the country, especially the North East? You bet and I don't disagree. Yet, you must ask yourself who do we, the taxpayers who are in charge of public schools, blame? The answer is pretty clear, we blame ourselves!

Nicely Said Deke, you made ... (Below threshold)

Nicely Said Deke, you made me rethink my position.

Thats all well said and goo... (Below threshold)

Thats all well said and good reasoning Deke.

But in all honesty the system was already in place when I graduated and what are we supposed to do? Vote the unions out? I dont have a say in that. I could refuse to pay taxes like Holder and crew but it comes out before I get to see it.

I see no recourse but home schooling. That said I live in a little town that has a pretty good teaching staff and the kids will be out of school in 3 years so I guess I will have to start planning for the Grand kids..

914, have you really looked... (Below threshold)

914, have you really looked into what your school board member has to say about education issues? What about your local congress critter, your state rep etc.?

Have you let your local district know you will support them if federal funds are pulled over issues with not properly meeting the needs of "labled" students, who are the paperwork/discipline bane of every class-room teacher?

Politcians are politcians on whatever level they reside, whether it's President or school board member and we, as a society, have the responsibilty to ensure that our leaders do what we want, if we don't we end up with what we have currently in power and as you have pointed out in many, many posts it's not very good.

We send our kids off to school and rarely think about what happens once they get there. The teacher who makes them sing praises for Obama and Facism overshadowes the teacher who says George Washington is the first and greatest President. Of course all teachers now get painted as leftist idealogues who are brainwashing kids. An out of control student threatens a teacher, another bullies a student in the proximity of a teacher, forcing the whole school to have another layer of administrative duties, on top of the layers allready required.

Most Conservatives work our asses off so that we can afford the mortgage to live in a decent neighborhood and send our kids to good public schools, or afford the tuition for private education; I'll let you in on a little "non PC" fact, if you take out the test scores from schools where the majority of students are on free or reduced lunch the U.S. is near the top in regards to education levels, thus, living in the suburbs and our kids getting into good schools, we never actually see the problems, we just catch documentaries like this and you tube clips of kids singing mmmm hmmm mmm, yet all schools then get lumped together as re-education centers for the leftist agenda that produce students that cant read or do basic math but will vote for the Facists.

Again saying nothing can be done, we can't fight the system, it's not my problem it's theirs are all symptoms of the defeatist and if that's the answer, why fight against the leftists on other issues, they're in power, they control almost everything so why fight right?

Instead watch these You Tube and video clips and ask yourself, "What can I do to make sure this isn't happening and won't happen in my school and what can I do to stop it in theirs.

Asking the conservatives ar... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

Asking the conservatives around here to lend a hand towards improving public education is futile, Deke. They simply don't care about the quality of public education, and will actively work *against* any institution or entity that has or supports Democrats (such as teacher's unions in public schools).

Witness the almost unanimous outcry here on Wizbang to not buy General Motors cars once GM was bailed out.

These wingnuts don't give a shit about making America strong and vibrant. They desperately want America to fail so they can point the finger at the black man in the White House and blame him for it all.

Asking them to lift a G-damned finger to support public education? Pointless.

"They simply don't care abo... (Below threshold)

"They simply don't care about the quality of public education"

"They desperately want America to fail so they can point the finger at the black man in the White House and blame him for it all."

Ever notice that when it gets right down to it, it's all about Barry?


Anyone else see a pattern here?

Hey Lee. Take your RACE CARD and shove it where the sun don't shine. You know, where your brain is.

Deke, I hear you. But at t... (Below threshold)

Deke, I hear you. But at the same time, when ever 'Charter Schools' are mentioned, I start seeing TV ads from "The Teacher's Union" about why charter schools are a bad idea.

Then you hear things, like 'the rubber room' in LA. A room where teachers go who are suspended from class for non-performance issues, allegations of misconduct, etc. And they get PAID to show up. Sometimes for YEARS until the case is resolved.

You want sympathy for teachers, then they better clean up their own act and their own union.

"Anyone else see a patte... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

"Anyone else see a pattern here?"

You bet. Don't deny the message - just shoot the messenger and lie, lie, lie...

Whatever - my comment stands and it's true. These assholes don't give a shit about America. They only care about returning their party to power and flushing the black man out of the White House.

Funny, My older sons class ... (Below threshold)

Funny, My older sons class had a vote before the last election and the final vote tally was 17 for Barry and 2 against. My son was one of the 2 defectors. Must be able to sniff out clean shaven shit from a mile away just like his old man mmmm mmmm mmm.

The system is corrupt and needs some draino and sanitizer. I dont know how you take the money out of the schools without taking the socialists out of D.C. I guess we start there in November. The system is geared towards money not learning and that is a big problem. Babysitting is what it amounts to.

"They simply don't care ... (Below threshold)

"They simply don't care about the quality of public education"

If I didn't care about it I would have voted for the brown noser in chief!

"Asking them to lift a G-damned finger to support public education? Pointless."

Im already supporting it with my hard earned money you jac ass I expect good results.

Im expected to do My job in... (Below threshold)

Im expected to do My job in a professional manner and see things thru. If I did not like what I was doing I would go somewhere else.

I dont feel I should have to babysit and shadow teachers to make sure they are earning their pay. Thats on them and is why they should have to meet criteria to show they are performing and get bonuses for doing so or shit canned for failing just like Barry should and will.

How did race get into this???? Is Lee here again? Oh, thats why.

"They only care about retur... (Below threshold)

"They only care about returning their party to power and flushing the black man out of the White House."

And you don't care about keeping the Democrats IN POWER and a demonstrated failure IN THE WHITE HOUSE?


No im going to go play hold... (Below threshold)

No im going to go play hold em' So Lee, go screw yourself.

One engaged in polishing fe... (Below threshold)

One engaged in polishing fecal dollops can be counted on to demonstrate several qualities:

1) repetition
2) ignoring the refutation of previously offered fecal matter
3) claiming the receiver is 'ignorant'
4) claiming the receiver is 'biased'
5) claiming the receiver is 'obstinate'
6) claiming he is 'misunderstood', leading to
7) claiming victim-hood and persecution

How are teachers supposed t... (Below threshold)

How are teachers supposed to be held accountable? How are you going to measure any gain by students? What happens if the kid is abused at home, the parents get a divorce, or don't and there is a lot of yelling and screaming in the home? How do you determine if a special needs child is making progress? What if a teacher gets a bad class because he/she is not on the principal's buddies list. What happens if the teacher is a good teacher and because of that fact gets the lower achieving students? What if the teacher gets a kid who is emotionally disturbed and that kid disrupts the rest of the class? My wife retired as a teacher after 35 years, and I can come up with many stories of how accountability can be skewed badly and show that a good teacher can be shown as not being able to cut the mustard. What is a good way to determine if a person is a good teacher? My wife is not in the union, she is a darned good Kindergarten teacher, and loves to "mother" her students. Parents on the other hand are a problem.

All Teachers are unionists.... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

All Teachers are unionists.

All Democrats are socialists.

All Progressives are terrorists.

Don't you follow the right wing blogs? Or watch Glenn Beck?

The only true "Americans" are the right wing racists who are trying to take back "their" country.

Really! Just ask them.

They don't give a shit about pubic education. They are content to let America fail so long as they can worship in their church of choice and home school their children.

It's me, me, me... and to hell with anyone who isn't white.

And they way they bow and scrape before corporations is amazing. They will happily repeat any lie BP tells them so long as they perceive it'll help get that black man out of the white house.

Saw another opinion today citing the number of white supremacist groups who are behind the anti-immigration push. I wont quote it because I don't have a link.

"They" want to take back "their" country. Almost 90% of the Tea Partiers are white. "They" want to take back "their" country, and if you disagree with them you're a socialist and you support terrorism...

Just don't dare call them racists... they'll shoot you for that.

Deke, you're right to a poi... (Below threshold)

Deke, you're right to a point. Parents need to take an active role in their children's education as well. Far too many don't and view the school as a free babysitting service. Have bad actors been enabled by the public? Yes.

But I have to tell you, we can't control the unions. We don't pay dues to the teachers unions. The teachers are far too complacent in handing over their dues every paycheck knowing full well that far too much of that money goes straight into some democrat's campaign coffer. If we saw teachers taking an active role in making some common sense demands on the unions we might be inclined to work with them. If we saw teachers willing to go up against some of the entrenced school district bureacrats wasting so much money before the few dreggs finally filter down to the classroom level then we'd be inclined to work with them.

Instead we hear teachers screaming for more pay, but who do they turn to? Their unions. And they in turn go to the politicians they have in their pockets and say they want more money for the district and where does that money go? How much ends up where it's needed?

When teachers finally understand that the Democrats (and to be fair, some Republicans, but far fewer) aren't doing them any damn favors maybe they'll stop voting en masse for them and handing over more money for union bosses and politicans to line their pockets with.

When I finally see a teacher more concerned with my grand daughter's ability to spell than her self esteem level, we'll talk. When my 8 year old grand daughter came home with a paper riddled with misspelled words yet there at the top of the page was a great big smiley face saying Good Job! her mother went to see the teacher. The teacher told her they weren't concentrating so much on spelling the words right.

And we aren't supposed to criticize the teachers?

"When teachers finally u... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

"When teachers finally understand that the Democrats (and to be fair, some Republicans, but far fewer) aren't doing them any damn favors maybe they'll stop voting en masse for them and handing over more money for union bosses and politicans to line their pockets with."

There is is in simple black and white.

'So long as teacher unions support Democrats we Republicans will do our best to strangle public education.'

Never mind that it's the wrong thing to do for America's children.

Never mind that it's the wrong thing to do for America's future.

Just help us get that black man out of the white house THEN we'll be concerned about helping rebuild America's public education.

And if you fall for that one Sarah Palin has a bridge to nowhere she wants to sell you.

These wingnuts don't give a crap about pubic education even when they have their own children and grand children in public schools!

So long as many teachers belong to unions and unions support Obama - public education can go down the drain as far as the Wizbang wingnuts are concerned.

Deke -I spent thre... (Below threshold)

Deke -

I spent three years maintaining classroom computers here in Georgia. One nice thing was that I got to see a LOT of teachers, both good and bad, in their natural habitats. And you could tell quickly after a while which were the good and which were the bad.

I also on occasion got to listen in at the school offices - and pretty much all the complaints I heard were about how the administrators kept throwing more and more onto the principals and teachers, while expanding their OWN staffing. They kept wondering just WHAT the administrators were good for.

Fast forward 20 years. (My, how time flies when you're having fun...) That particular school district is having a real problem with the budget. And it was widely announced they were going to be cutting back on their administrative staff. This, I thought, was a real sign of progress.

Found out know that hey're letting custodians go, and low-level admin sorts - the under $40k/year crowd. The higher level ones are still going to be in their protected jobs, going on trips to find better ways to educate the students - usually scrapping what's already in existence as far as curricula and lesson plans go, making more work for the teachers. The new and shiny shoves aside the stuff that's just starting to have an effect, which itself was new and shiny at one time...

In the LOCAL district, we recently got rid of a bunch of folks that were looking to issue all students above 6th grade a laptop. As a computer tech, this seemed like a damn bad idea, having seen the care and consideration your standard bored 16-year old can give a regular keyboard. Nothing good would have come from that plan, and fortunately enough of an outcry was raised locally that the idea was cancelled.

That school board was decimated in the next election.

Now they're looking at putting astroturf on all the high school football fields. For the kids, don't ya know... because spending millions of dollars on artificial grass is much more important than teacher salaries.

They may need another lesson on priorities.

Wow! The Turd Polisher is ... (Below threshold)

Wow! The Turd Polisher is really on a "black and white" kick today!

Oh, sorry Lee. Seeing as I'm RACIST!, that should have been 'WHITE and black' kick, right?

Hey! You see the comments of some guy by the name of Colin Powell the other day? Really critical of THE ONE. Sumbitch is probably a RACIST! Right Lee?

Lee, I'm really starting to... (Below threshold)

Lee, I'm really starting to worry about you.

Are you so disconnected from reality in your off-line life also?

Lee, you really need to get... (Below threshold)

Lee, you really need to get back on your meds. I didn't think you could get more delusional, but there you go.

"'So long as teacher unions support Democrats we Republicans will do our best to strangle public education.'"

You've lost your friggin mind. Nothing I said comes even close to that.

Can't given a 'cure-all' fo... (Below threshold)

Can't given a 'cure-all' for what's going on today. I do think the answer IS NOT more money. Looking back, we've poured more and more in over the years, and get less and less in return.

When young, my parents went to the local PTA meetings. About 6th/7th grade, to get things done you had to go to 'the School Board Meeting'. And there were always parents who didn't go to either, short of a stick of dynamite up their ass.

In grade school, students were designated each day to clean up the classroom. Clean erasers, clean the blackboards (no racism intended, Lee), and MOP THE FLOOR. Try getting parents to allow that today! But you know, there was no rampant defacing of school property back then.

Then there's the discipline issue. Kids today tell a teacher to stick it. What do they get? Nothing! Why? Gotta keep the kid in school in order to keep up those daily attendance numbers. Those numbers = state money.

Maybe it's time that we go back to LOCAL control at the LOCAL level at the LOCAL PTA.

JL / Oyster:6) cla... (Below threshold)

JL / Oyster:

6) claiming he is 'misunderstood', leading to
7) claiming victim-hood and persecution

He's there! #7

Lee, you really need to sto... (Below threshold)

Lee, you really need to stop, it's obvious you have no clue about public education and your constant drum beat of racism makes any arugment you have look ridiculous, a little research would show you that it's about economics and that middle class minority students score as well as their peers and that rural, white children score as poorly as inner citty kids. Also those inner-city students who attend magnet or charter schools score 3 times better than those in public education.

And we aren't supposed to criticize the teachers? - Oyster

No you should criticize your school board member, who won't fight for higer expectations, you should support your principal when they are besieged by parents who demand to know why they are being so harsh with all the red marks, you should demand to know why the board of education allows this policy, the teacher is the instrument and you are the one who controlls, but of course it's all their fault I would suggest you get involved!

AGAIN I will point out that a most common thread is, "Public education sucks BUT my school is pretty good." It's the simple fact most schools, even those states with unions, are pretty good, and test scores are exceptional, it's the inner-city and rural areas that are suffering, why? Because the value of education isn't as highly placed as it is in the middle and upper classes. Lee can blame everyone he wants but until the communities themselves stand up and demand more they are doomed to continue the cycle.

My problem is with the plethora of non educators that have no clue but watch You Tube and mmmm hmmm mmm and paint a broad brush to describe public schooling. I want you to remember that public schools were set up to be controlled by the LOCAL community and the fact that all these things that we despise are in there is a direct reflection on the controll you have not enforced!

Maybe it's time that we ... (Below threshold)

Maybe it's time that we go back to LOCAL control at the LOCAL level at the LOCAL PTA. - GarandFan


If this were a kitchen the ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

If this were a kitchen the chef would be firing someone. We start cooking (discussion), the aroma of cooking begins to fill the air (progress), than one damn pot boils over, boils dry and it the kitchen is filled with the smell of burned food.

It gets tiresome.

and he's married to the bab... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

and he's married to the babe of all babes Elisabeth Shue.

Conservatives have no probl... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:

Conservatives have no problem labeling all Democrats "Socialists" -- proving that they have no clue as to the definition of the word...

but don't dare suggest that the people who had no problem with GW Bush running up the national debt have racial motives for damning Obama for doing the same thing.

And the anti-education stench that spills from them is extraordinary. They hate unions so much for supporting Democrats that they will happily watch public education falter and their own children and grandchildren suffer because of it.

It makes no sense.

Of course it doesn't - welcome to conservative politics, where people are most happy when America fails.

Whhaaaa! Victim! Whhaaa! Vi... (Below threshold)

Whhaaaa! Victim! Whhaaa! Victim! Whhaaa Victim!

And this from 'the labelmiester' himself.

LA School Board strikes aga... (Below threshold)

LA School Board strikes again. Going to 'instruct' students that Arizona's new law is "un-American".

You'll notice the "unconstitutional" argument is gone. It's now officially "un-American".

So if this passes, it's now legal to spread political propaganda in schools. But then we already knew that.

Barack Hussein Obama
mmm mmm mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
mmm mmm mmm

Lee Wee HermanDing... (Below threshold)

Lee Wee Herman

Ding, Ding, Ding... Suppers ready!!

"Don't you follow the right... (Below threshold)

"Don't you follow the right wing blogs? Or watch Glenn Beck?"

"They want to take back "their" country. Almost 90% of the Tea Partiers are white."

No but apparently you do. Where do you get your facts jack? Cracker jack boxes?

I live in a upper middle-in... (Below threshold)

I live in a upper middle-income town in MA. I fought the fight against the teachers union idea of education for my child.....and lost.
When told by the teacher/principal/assistant superintendent/superintendent that they were promoting my child, who COULD NOT READ, into the second grade with absolutely no plan about how to teach him to read, it was about his self-esteem, my husband and I blew up. Heavy parental involvement, tutors and, thankfully, and imaginative child, he is now an ardent reader, but no thanks to the teachers unions and a failed (in my mind)school system.
Here in MA, we are more concerned about teaching our children how to put a condom on a cucumber, than to read. Pitiful and infuriating.






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