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Waiting for "Superman" [Blu-ray]

 PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 28.14 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Waiting for Superman [Blu-ray] Waiting for Superman [Blu-ray] 4.4 out of 5 stars (5)
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From the Academy Award-winning Director of An Inconvenient Truth comes the groundbreaking feature film that provides an engaging and inspiring look at public education in the United States. Waiting For "Superman" has helped launch a movement to achieve a real and lasting change through the compelling stories of five unforgettable students such as Emily, a Silicon Valley eighth-grader who is afraid of being labeled as unfit for college and Francisco, a Bronx first-grader whose mom will do anything to give him a shot at a better life. Waiting For "Superman" will leave a lasting and powerful impression that you will want to share with your friends and family.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the disaster that is the US school system Dec 14 2011
By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER
Obviously, many people know the US public school system is a failure on so many levels. Sure there are people who say test scores are meaningless and this is somewhat addressed in the movie but you cannot argue graduation/dropout rates. The movie also presents all this mindnumbing data in a very creative way often using moveable graphics on a map of the U.S.

That is only part of the story. By focusing on a few different kids and their parents we gain far greater insight into how kids are being shortchanged depending whether not so much how good their school is but how good or bad each individual teacher is.

The movie will leave you slackjawed if you are looking at this as an outsider, like I am, not being an American. Ultimately, though, unlike so many documentaries that often point fingers and stop there, this one shows some solutions that have worked in the U.S. such as the KIPP schools in LA or how Washington, D.C., (the nation's capital having one of the worse public school districts in the country) attempted to wake up their teachers' union by offering incentive-based pay...and the union showing where their real heart is, turning that down.

The movie also is incredibly heartbreaking when you see the actual lottery drawings for kids to get into these "good" schools.

The extras are a bit much as they are sales pitches for various charter schools--some of which we learn about in the movie. There's a very short interview with the director that I wished went on longer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Superman June 24 2011
Even though this video documents the rapid decline of the American education system, parents in Canada should watch it because it certainly reflects what is happening north of the border. Most educators know that whatever happens in the American system will happen in the Canadian system 15-20 years later. We may either use this documentary as a warning and heed its advice or, choose to ignore it and suffer the same fate. Waiting for Superman
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2.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting.... Nov. 6 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I ordered this on October 15 and it said it should arrive Oct 25 - Nov 1. It is November 6 and I still haven't seen it. As the name says...Waiting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A System Gone to the Dogs May 18 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
The politics behind public education initiatives in the US have always intrigued me. Politicians of any stripe seem to want to ensure the taxpayers that there are still ways to reform public schools, especially those in the ghettos, for students, parents and teachers alike. The ensuing debate usually revolves around a handful of proposed cosmetic changes intended to help chronically underachieving, at-risk students feel better and perform better. Over the many years of trying to apply numerous proposals such as integrated schooling, charter schools, modified learning, alternate learning and even merit pay, this prominent institution still gets knocked for not doing enough to raise the learning bar and get consistently positive results. There is never enough money or qualified teachers to correct the public impression that some schools are perpetually failing and that the country as a whole is dumbing down. This documentary looks at why many public schools continue to be seen as proverbial black holes where many students' dreams and aspirations of higher learning are swallowed up in mediocre teaching, unfriendly learning environments, and low socio-economic status. The film follows the collaborative stories of parents and young students in their desperate search to be enrolled in charter or elite schools so that they stand a better chance of making it in life. Any national or social political resolve to solve the issue of failing schools generally falls flat on its face because all the major stakeholders - the White House, the different state education boards, the unions, and various parent groups - can't agree on what is the real cause of the problem and what it will take to fix it. Looking to a sitting President to lead the way on this challenge has not produced many satisfactory answers to date. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars The power of great teachers Aug. 15 2011
This documentary, by the same filmmaker who brought us "An Inconvenient Truth" (Davis Guggenheim), is a must see. Though focused on the problems within the American public school system, its message can definitely cross national borders. After depicting and incisively analyzing the abyss that public schools have become (with dropout statistics that are staggering), Guggenheim leads us to a handful of "charter schools", many in the poorest neighborhoods of urban America, and to their visionary, even heroic leaders. Among these, Harvard educated Geoffrey Canada stands as a giant. Optimism is sparse in this film, which makes his conviction and energy even more inspiring.

A large part of the effectiveness of this film is due to the very human faces of the children (and their families) that we follow through the course of a single school year. Culminating in the lottery scenes, where an impossibly small number of children are randomly picked to attend the only schools that will give them a chance at a true education, the film is heartbreaking.

This is both the film's strength and its weakness. The injustice of a system that eats up and spits out young minds that will never be given a chance to develop and whose fate is predetermined, is brilliantly rendered. Less so is the film's single message of hope: that great teachers, no matter where they work, can make all the difference. Sadly, we are given only tiny glimpses of these committed professionals, these educational missionaries, at work.
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