Waiting for Superman or Waiting for the Seniors?


Teachers embody hope that is translated into their students. At least that’s what most people want to happen.

In the seniors’ seminar class, Issues in Contemporary Society (ICS), students watched a documentary on education. The film is called “Waiting for Superman.”

The film highlights the worst aspects of public education in the U.S. today.

In the film, Geoffrey Canada, an educator and social activist, talks about how horrible the public school systems in America are, and how he wants to change it.

There were many statistics that got students’ attention:

  • From 1971 to 2008 reading and math scores have flat-lined in America
  • Average teachers teach 100% of the material for the year
  • Bad teachers only teach 50% of the material for the year
  • Excellent teachers teach 150% of the material for the year
  • Only 1 in every 2,500 teachers will lose their teaching credentials in Illinois every year.

The documentary follows five low income families who are passionate about giving their children the best education they can. Each family, in the end, entered into a lottery at a local charter school.

The reason why families prefer charter schools over public schools is because charter schools are funded by the government, but make their own rules. This allows for the schools to fire bad teachers, whereas in public schools, once a teacher receives ten year, it is virtually impossible to have that teacher fired.

“It was extremely eye¬†opening.” commented Senior Olivia White. White elaborated saying that the most eye opening was, “the unequal opportunities to the families across the nation.” White expressed her feelings on the lottery saying, “It is heart breaking that futures relay on probability and luck.” The statistic that hit White the hardest was that more students in Harlem New York know people who have gone to prison than have gone to college.

“There is such a disparity between areas with good and poor education.” said senior Amy Cutmore while reflecting on the film. When asked what hit Cutmore most about the film, she replied, “That some teachers were still getting paid after sexually abusing or maltreating their students, while waiting for a decision front eh school board, and not even the law.”

The film truly opened the eyes of the senior class, and made them realize more about the country they live in.

The ICS class has students evaluate issues, and try to come up with solutions.

Superman may not be able to solve the massive problems of education in the US, but maybe the senior can take a stab at it.