Director David Guggenheim’s new movie, “Waiting for Superman“, chronicles the failings of our nation’s current public education system. The film is at once touching, angering, dire, and hopeful. It paints a picture of American youth floundering in an antiquated system that, while it may have been ideal for the country’s needs in the post-WW2 era, has produced flat-lining test scores in math and reading since 1975. We were once, the film points out, holders of the world’s pre-eminent public education system. Now, as the world’s last remaining super power, we rank 26th among developed nations in education.
While it is widely acknowledged that there is no “silver bullet” for fixing education in this country, it should come as no surprise that Guggenheim’s film emphasizes school choice a hugely significant tool in the process of fixing higher education. “Waiting for Superman” stresses the successes of many of the nation’s charter schools, particularly the KIPP schools, where teachers and administrators don’t have to deal with the constraints of state regulation and can instead focus on innovation and creating the best learning environment possible for their students.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation has long been a proponent of expanding charter schools in this state. Guggenheim’s film shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that charters and school choice need to become more available to our students if we are going to improve education in this country and subsequently compete in the global business market in the coming decades.
– James Golsan