Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Are We 'Waiting for Superman'?

Geoffrey Canada, a fellow Bowdoin graduate, founded the Harlem Children's Zone in 1990. The Zone's goal is "to do whatever it takes to educate children and strengthen the community." In Harlem, this has meant establishing new methods to end cycles of generational poverty.

The phrase "waiting for Superman" is Canada's term for his own childhood belief that the ghetto in which he was growing up was in such crisis it could only be rescued by a superhero. He and filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (Academy Award, "An Inconvenient Truth") believe that public education in the U.S. is an a similar state of severe crisis.

Why are we "waiting for Superman" to fix our public education system, the foundation of our democracy, innovation, and U.S. leadership throughout the world--and so evidently in decline? The filmmakers hope, and ours in screening this film at the Opera House March 3, is that the powerful stories of children and their families it documents will give all of us, in each of our communities, a launching place for dialogue and action to improve our schools. The film shines a spotlight on key education reform issues and the importance of great teachers, and will hopefully not only spark conversation and action but also galvanize the community support essential to bringing about meaningful and lasting change in our public schools.

As part of the "Waiting for Superman" house party movement in which the Opera House will participate on March 3, the film's producers, Participant Media, have created a Social Action Campaign around four key initiatives: celebrating great teachers; ensuring world class standards; encouraging more great schools; and raising literacy rates. You can learn more about how to participate in any of these areas, before or after seeing the film at the Opera House, at