The 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim, dives into the failing education system in America and provides some shocking revelations. At the start of the film educator Geoffrey Canada relays the time when his mother revealed that Superman did not exist. The shock was so earth shattering not because he loved the comic-book character so much, but because now there was confirmation that there was no hope of being saved from the hardships of life. For a young kid to have such a negative outlook on life you begin to wonder what is it that makes a child feel so utterly hopeless. The fact is that the education system in the United States is what these kids feared, for many do not have a choice on where they go, who will teach them, and if they will get out with the proper tools to thrive in today’s society.
The most horrifying information that I got from the film was that teachers who were not even good at their job, or didn’t care to make an effort in properly educating their students, were granted tenure as if it were nothing. Once a teacher receives tenure, there is NO WAY, I repeat NO WAY to fire them. Now, imagine your children are being educated by a lazy teacher and there is proof that they are not doing their job (ie. a video tape), the teacher can still not be fired. This information enraged me. Schools become factories that push kids along until they reach high school and educators are failing most of the students because they can’t read at the expected grade level. Another point that upset me was how much money the government put towards the maintaining prisons and inmates, and that the money put towards this could have been geared towards their education from the start of their lives (with money left over for college) and would have most likely prevented them from ending up in jail. The statistics in this film are unnerving and the future of the country is at stake. For the first time in I do not know how long, I cried during a film. The reality of the situation hurt like hell and to watch children in grade one already worrying about what public school they need to go to or else they will have no future was perplexing. And then to watch them get rejected from their desired school because there are so many applicants that the board does a lottery to be fair? Words cannot accurately express my devastation. Each child should have the same opportunity. Each child deserves the education they want.
The message is clear: Educate our children and hire adequate educators that are passionate about their work!