THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH BEHIND WAITING FOR SUPERMAN... Major film debuts in New York City, refuting the lies of 'Waiting for Superman' and calling out the liars behind those lies

More than 800 people attended the world premier of the important film "The Inconvenient Truth: Behind 'Waiting for Superman'" on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at the famous Riverside Church in New York City. The crowd continually cheered as the narrative of the film unfolded with powerful images and truthful testimony on behalf of public education and an end to the privatization attack on public schools that is coming from the American Plutocracy and the Obama administration. An informative video was made (see below) at the very end of the premier to get the responses of the people who saw the show for the first time. Featuring parents, teachers, students and historian Diane Ravitch, the post-premier video adds to the power of the presentaiton with a call for a national showing of the film.

Part of the audience at the world premier of "The Inconvenient Truth behind 'Waiting for Superman'" in New York City on May 19, 2011. GEM photo by Darren Marelli."The Inconvenient Truth..." tells the story that "Waiting for Superman" — a massive and hugely financed propaganda attack on public schools, public school teachers, and unions — distorts. Anchored by two veteran New York City public school teachers — elementary school teachers Brian Jones and Julie Cavanaugh — the story begins with images from the massive protests against school closings in New York City during the past two years, and then takes apart, point by point, each of the lies being circulated by "Waiting for Superman."

One of those featured in the film is Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has been working closely with the people in GEM (the "Grassroots Education Movement") in New York City. Karen Lewis's participation in the film came as a result of a visit she made to New York earlier this school year.

The film focuses on teachers, students and parents who have long been critical of some of the aspects of the work of the teachers' unions, but is a solid defense of the unions. It answers virtually all of the questions raised by "Waiting for Superman" and points out the lies and hypocrisy of the five featured heroes of "Superman" — Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, Geoffrey Canada, Joel Klein, and Michael Bloomberg. The film details the high cost of privatization. It also exposes the growing hypocrisy of the process of forcing public schools out of public buildings through the placement of growing charter schools within those building.

A panel discussion with questions and answers following the premier screening. Left to right above: In the photo from left to right: Brian Jones, Nijel Hill, Diane Ravitch, Khem Irby, Julie Cavanaugh. GEM photo by Darren Marelli. According to Darren Marelli, who was one of the three people who made the film (with the help of hundreds of others): "The whole experience of making this film, working and meeting so many amazing people who are fighting for the best interest of ALL children, has been amazing and the premiere was no different. It was electric and inspiring. It is, however, disappointing that the mainstream media intentionally avoided it. We are also so pleased to hear that the film will be seen in Chicago on the same day that the UFT here in NY informed us that they want the film to be seen in our schools here. It is a real grassroots effort. We have already entered it into some film festivals here in NY in an attempt to get it some more exposure."

Perhaps poetically, while the major corporate media in New York City were ignoring the premier of "The Inconvenient Truth...", The New York Times was preparing a major story (see Susan Ohanian's report here at on the way in which the Gates Foundation and other billionaires are funding the attacks on teachers and teacher unions.

The Gates story appeared on Page One of the national edition of the Times on Sunday, May 22, 2011. Left out of the Times story, for the most part, is the role of Gates and other billionaire money in producing and pushing "Waiting for Superman." (In Chicago for example, Gates and other billionaire money provided funding for the transportation of hundreds of parents and students to showings of "Superman"). By the end of "The Inconvenient Truth," anyone who has been paying attention knows that the attacks on public education are not about doing what's best for (often poor and minority) children, but on expanding profitization and exploitation to every public school district in the USA. New York has also supplied a video of the premier. The URL for the video for those who can't access a hotlink is:

A "sneak peek" of the film can be found here:

Rahm Emanuel's term as mayor of Chicago will coincide with Barack Obama's re-election campaign. Obama's campaign headquarters is based in Chicago, and one of the key components of Obama's program has been the ruthless "school reform" program "Race To The Top," which promotes charter schools and forces democratic school districts across the USA to submit to federal control and dictates massive privatization through charter schools. Chicago's school district was the pioneer of both under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, one of Obama's early sponsors and supporters. Ironically, Emanuel was telling the media in 2011 that the "status quo" in education was a failure and had to be shaken up, while ignoring the fact that the Chicago "status quo" had been Mayor Daley's since 1995, when the Amendatory Act of 1995 made Chicago's mayor the first major urban mayor to have dictatorial control over a major city's public schools. That was seven years before mayoral control was given to New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002. In both cases, mayoral control was the result of "bipartisan" corporate school reform legislation, where Republicans and Democrats agree to sponsor the elimination of democratic schools in major urban center serving largely minority and poor children. The film should be especially important for people in Chicago, because the current version of a "school reform" agenda being pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, comes straight out of the Hollywood scripts that are best exemplified by the lies in "Waiting for Superman." Chicago teachers, parents, and children can expect to hear more of those lies not only from Chicago's new mayor, but also from the numerous and well-funded groups (like Advance Illinois and Stand for Children) that are well paid to repeat those lies. For those who wish to reprise a funny video and song about this aspect of Emanuel, the URL for "Too Big To Fail" is

In fact, those who have spoken with Mayor Emanuel since January or who have kept close track of his comments on education more and more believe that Emanuel's script for his talking points on school reform comes straight from the lies repeated over and over in "Waiting for Superman." As the day comes when the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education are appointed by Emanuel and serve along with Jean-Claude Brizard, Emanuel's controversial choice for schools "Chief Executive Officer," a large number of people are going back to viewing "Waiting for Superman" in light of the expose of all the lies and distortions in it.

If there is one disappointment in "The Inconvenient Truth about Waiting for Superman," it's from the perspective of the long-suffering Chicago teachers, parents and students. Mayoral control of the schools was pioneered in Chicago in 1995, with the passage of the Amendatory Act. Working under the guise of a "bipartisan" approach to "school reform", Republicans and Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly voted in favor of the first major law in the USA to give a large city mayor dictatorial control over that city's public schools. Chicago thus became the experimental location of most of the major "reforms" exposed in "The Inconvenient Truth..." long before those same policies were exported to New York (at the time of the beginning of No Child Left Behind) and across the USA (with the appointment of Chicago's Arne Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education by Chicago's Barack Obama in January 2009).

The Obama administration's corporate education "reform" and privatization attack on public schools ‚ Race To The Top — was pioneered in Chicago and resulted in the destruction of dozens of African American public schools, the firing of hundreds of African American teachers and principals, and the disruption of the lives of tens of thousands of the nation's poorest African American children — all under the smokescreen of the claim that corporate school reform is a "civil rights" commitment. Despite the numerous critics of the Chicago policies of Arne Duncan (who was Chicago schools CEO from 2001 through 2008), the corporate version of reality, now enshrined in "Waiting for Superman", ignored the actual impacts of what Duncan did. In December 2008, Barack Obama announced that he was appointing Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education because of the ostensible success of Chicago's version of school reform. The Obama administration's "Race To The Top" education policy is the most revolutionary attack on democratic public schools since the segregated schools of the Jim Crow South were developed at the end of the 19th Century and the early decades of the 20th. In fact, "Race To The Top," might be called a vicious Chicago experiment that is now being exported across the USA. (One Substance reporter has compared the Chicago experiments with the infamous Tuskeegee syphilis experiments of the 1930s on black men in the segregated south). The recognition of the racism of Chicago's school reform policies — especially the destruction of the lives of tens of thousands of black children and thousands of black teachers and principals — is only beginning to become a part of the narrative. Fortuntely, with the help of "The Inconvenient Truth...", American won't have to wait 40 years to learn about the viciousness of these attacks, as they did with the Tuskeegee experiment.

The complete article criticizing Arne Duncan's attacks on the African American schools in Chicago was published by Grady Jordan, retired former Chicago high schools superintendent, in the March 2008 Substance, both on line and in print. Despite the facts reported by Dr. Jordan, who is a staff member of Substance, the corporate media in Chicago and across the USA continued to portray Duncan's policies as a new "civil rights" approach. The URL for Dr. Jordan's article is As "The Inconvenient Truth..." depicts, much of the corporate "school reform" agenda in New York City is an attack on African American communities. Many of the most important critics in the GEM film are African American parents who report on how they were misled by the charter school marketing schemes in New York, while inner city schools were being squeezed out of their facilities by a program called (in New York) "co-location."

In Chicago the same activities have been taking place as reported in Substance since the first school closings of the Duncan era, in April 2002. Today, a fierce struggle in Chicago is taking place at the William Penn Elementary School, where the KIPP charter school is slowly encroaching on the public school. In an uncanny resemblance (far from a coincidence) KIPP in Chicago is force Penn to reduce the space available for special education and English language learners — just as several New York City charters are doing. In one dramatic case in the movie, the special education classrooms are moved to the basement of a school so that the charter school can have the higher levels in the same building!

The May 19 audience before the show began. GEM photo by Darren Marelli. Both ICE and GEM in New York need contributions to bring the film to all 50 states, as many at the premier suggested. Norm Scott, whose video record of hundreds of demonstrations and other actions in New York City over the past decade helped make "The Inconvenient Truth..." possible, suggests that people donate to helping the film get out. If people want to send money, Scott writes, checks made out to Ed Notes Inc

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