Documentary examines failures, success in education

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by GARY COGILL

WFAA

Posted on September 30, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 30 at 1:03 AM

The new documentary "Waiting For 'Superman'" is the creation of Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim. It not only challenges the current state of public education in America — it calls it a failure.

"The system of public schools in America works, but for the adults," Guggenheim said. "It works for the central bureaucracy; it works as a jobs program; it works for the unions; it doesn't work for the kids."

Guggenheim offers numerous solutions by examining current success models, including The Harlem Children's Zone in New York run by Geoffrey Canada.

"When you see a great teacher, you are seeing a work of art," Canada says in the film.

"He really identifies with these kids in Harlem, and there are kids like that here in Dallas that don't have someone powerful enough to come and help and save them," Guggenheim said. "If they don't have that, they need a great school."

"Waiting For 'Superman'" is both revealing and heartbreaking, because at the center of the controversy are children who are eager to learn.

"People are saying, 'Screw the system; we are going to go in and do it one school at a time," Guggenheim said. "Here in Dallas there is a great new school called KIPP, where knowledge is power. It's in our movie, and they are just rocking, and proving that you can do it."

E-mail gcogill@wfaa.com

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