November 1, 2010

Speak up about "Waiting for Superman"

"Waiting for Superman is a moving but vastly oversimplified brief on American educational inequality." - Source: The Nation

Education documentary 'Waiting for Superman' is now playing in Pennsylvania movie theaters. The film purports to analyze the failures of the American public education system by following several students.  It's gotten a lot of attention: Time Magazine, Education Week, The Nation, and other national publications have covered the film extensively. The issue was a focus of the Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC's Education Nation Teacher Townhall.

'Waiting for Superman' raises important issues - but a 90-minute film cannot cover the thoughtful and more meaningful conversations all of us must have to improve public education. We anticipate that advocacy groups, parents, students, legislators, and policy-makers will use the screening of 'Waiting for Superman' to discuss education reform. PSEA encourages and welcomes this dialogue.

Get the facts: Vision for the future of education
In January, PSEA released a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive document that uses educational research and decades of practice to outline what really makes a difference for students and quality education. Find it at

NEA Must-Read: The Nation grades 'Waiting for Superman' 

An informed guide on 'Waiting for Superman'

Read NEA's key talking points and Super Myths about the film

  • PSEA’s 191,000 members and the 3.2 million members of NEA welcome and encourage filmgoers to join us in our mission of delivering the power of a great education for every student.
  • NEA affiliates and individual members have consistently advocated for the basic right of all students to attend great public schools, and we hope the film inspires more Americans to become engaged in a larger discussion about the shared responsibility for ensuring that America has a public education system that prepares all of our children, not just some of them, to live and compete in a global society.
  • "Waiting for Superman" is a film that evokes strong emotions. It tells the story of injustice in America’s education system—a story that teachers and education support professionals have been telling for years. We are delighted that more people are talking about these issues, and generating ideas about how improve our nation’s public schools for all students.
  • In many places, the situation is urgent, so for those new to the conversation, the impulse is to recommend simple, silver-bullet solutions. Of course, the challenges our public schools face are myriad and complex and in most cases there are no quick and easy fixes. We seek solutions that are research-based, collaborative, and sustainable.
  • "Waiting for Superman" raises some important issues, but we should be careful not to allow a 90-minute film to define how we talk about improving public education – our children and our nation deserve a more meaningful discussion about how we prepare for the future.
  • To a large extent, the film misses the point by over simplifying complex issues. Ultimately, it’s just a film, and as such it lacks the depth and factual, research-based policy analysis required to have a meaningful discussion about what’s best for every public school student in America. That said, we certainly appreciate that it has helped to spark a larger conversation about education.

Speak up



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