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.