Live from New York City... The Movie Review

October 7, 2010

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Cameron Curry is Executive Director of The Classical Academies organization, which is made up of three successful public charter schools in San Diego County. He also serves as the Independent Study Schools Representative on CCSA's Member Council. Here, he shares his review of Waiting for "Superman," a documentary that has everyone talking about education reform.

Live from New York City - The Movie Review

Backpacks, shoes, and orange juice. This is the start to a typical day for many students as they prepare to attend school; and so begins the movie, *Waiting for "Superman." *

This film, which is getting a lot of press, has crystallized the debate over issues that have moved the once great public school system in America to one of the worst education systems in the world. The discussion in the film centers on the lives of four families and their personal struggles to access better educational options for their children.

Waiting for "Superman" runs the same course as The Lottery, another documentary that detailed similar students and their struggles to enter a public charter school in Harlem, New York. Waiting for "Superman" expands the discussion to include a lot more data and statistics to make the point that too many layers of decision makers and challenges have complicated the access to quality educational options for America's youth.

The film does feature some real American heroes who stand up to the unions, the politicians, and the traditionalist in creating high quality options in some cities that are benefiting a few thousand students. The film surmises that it all comes down to having a great teacher in every classroom. That is the silver bullet that will save the American Public School System.

When in comes to charter schools, we run the risk of not being successful if we do not adopt and stand behind high standards of accountability that our traditional school counterparts refuse to do. We have to be willing to close bad or failing charter schools, with no exceptions.

The movie challenges the inconsistency caused by having so many school boards with different goals, and stresses the need for more real leaders like Michelle Rhee, the School Chancellor in Washington D.C. Under her leadership she has closed failing schools, fired principals and bad teachers and has held high the banner of better schools, not for adults, but for the students attending those schools.

Waiting for "Superman" is not expecting the son of Krypton to save the public school system, but rather, it is encouraging you and me to stand up in our communities to take back our public schools from the unions, the naysayers, and the adults that make decisions on what is best for adults and not for students.

CCSA Members, have you seen Waiting for "Superman?" Would you like to share your review of the film on the CCSA blog? Send us your review for consideration.

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