Waiting for Supernan

20 Mar

Review: Waiting for Superman

Guggenheim suggests the wait will be long for America’s schools

By TOM MEEK  |  September 28, 2010

If you were wondering about the state of our education system, Davis Guggenheim’s documentary won’t make you feel very optimistic. Terms like “academic sinkhole” crop up as Guggenheim chronicles the bittersweet travails of several families (in Los Angeles, New York City, and DC) readying their children for the school lottery — which will all but decide each child’s fate. Reformers appear in the form of Harlem Children’s Zone champion Geoffrey Canada and Michelle Rhee, the DC super whose brash approach has been blamed for the recent election defeat of Mayor Adrian Fenty. Guggenheim’s culprits are teacher unions, who refuse to accept performance pay, and a tangled bureaucracy; both are hideously exemplified by New York’s “Rubber Room,” where ineffectual teachers sit around, surf the web, and collect a paycheck.

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