Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway Waiting for 'Superman' Initially, one of the most provocative things about "Waiting for 'Superman'" is its poster: a gray sky. A heap of rubble. Twisted metal. A war zone. And, in the center, a child sitting at her desk raises her hand.
Education is in a war-crisis within the inner city neighborhoods of our country.
Such is the reality illuminated in this documentary by Davis Guggenheim director of "An Inconvenient Truth" and like the climate change issue, public education is often pushed aside in the poorest areas, stunted by the formality of unions and contracts that allow bad teachers to go on teaching badly once tenure is granted.
But there is hope. Enter Geoffrey Canada, a man who once cried for the lack of a saving Superman. Canada, a good humored and tireless personality,carries himself rather like a Superman in human form: kind and driven with a single minded purpose, he is able to bring more practical educators together in a single bound.
The documentary focuses on Canada's story and his concept of highly concentrated schooling to a point, but it is also about the fast food way that we view education and the menace of unions that are more insidious than any plan by Lex Luthor. And politicians, as well meaning as they might be, not governing where the money goes or even where it is, once it gets in the clutches of a wayward school board. We see five kids in the film and they all possess such a buoyant down to earth quality. These effervescent traits are contrasted against the apathy and in-fighting of school board or (bored) adults. It does indeed seem that---Wait! Look up in the sky!---these kids can turn things around perched on Canada's cape.
Together with Canada's wisecracking, the kids emerge as one of the most heartfelt and compelling aspects of this topical documentary.