Waiting For Superman Participant Book

Waiting for "SUPERMAN": How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools (Participant Guide Media) [Paperback]Takeaway: Decent overview of problems facing education in the United States.  Primarily essays from people in the movie, not as a supplement to the movie.

Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

My paying job is a program evaluator for an after school program.  I also do a fair bit for research on education policy and my wife and mother are a teachers and my mother in law in a charter school principal.  So I am not unfamilar with the basic problems of educational policy.  I have not had a chance to watch the movie Waiting for Superman yet, but I hope to watch it soon.

I picked this book up hoping find statistics and background to help with grant writing and to help the fund development staff use the movie to talk to donors.

The first quarter of the book was about how the movie was made and the history of the director.  Interesting if you want to read about the movie, if you are interested in education policy stuff, not so much.

Most of the rest of the book are essays by people that I assume are in the movie.  Michelle Rhee, the president of the Teacher’s Union, several education journalists, the founder of KIPP schools, etc. all contribute an essay.

The kids that are really the heart of the movie (from what I understand) get two pages a piece.  So do not read the book hoping to get more back story on the kids.

There is a section at the end on how to get more involve in education and education reform from a variety of perspectives, which makes sense as an issue movie.

Overall, if you want an overview of the issues, it is a good, and fairly cheap book.  If you want something in depth, find another book.


After I originally posted this blog a friend referred me to an article highly critical of the movie.  I don’t agree with all the points of the article, but it does bring up some real issues.


hey adam, i also read this critical article on it: http://www.alternet.org/media/148299/%27waiting_for_superman%27_schools_documentary_is_a_slick_marketing_piece_full_of_half-truths_and_distortions/?page=1

haven’t checked out the link you posted, but am interested. have you read kozal’s Savage Inequalities? read it years ago..but only education reform book i’ve read…

oh, and i haven’t seen the movie yet either…

    Looks like very similar complaints. I read Savage Inequalities and several other books by him. I think that with too many people this is about ideology more than actually fixing the problems of public education. So some teacher unions fight against charter schools out of ideology, and some market focused people think that government can’t do anything right.

    I think we need to do a lot more experimentation to see what really does work.

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