'Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman' showing at Lane Tech Wednesday, June 8

The hit New York movie "The Inconvenient Truth Behind 'Waiting for Superman'" will be showing at Lane Technical High School in Chicago at 3:15 p.m. on June 8, 2011. The showing will be in the school's student lunchroom. A leaflet from the Lane Tech teachers distributed recently reads: "You are cordially invited to attend "The Inconvenient Truth Behind 'Waiting for Superman'" The movie highlights real-life experiences of parents, students, and educators in their quest to save public education.



Wednesday, June 8th

3:15 p.m.

Lane College Prep High School (Addison and Western in Chicago)

Student Cafeteria

President Barack Obama greeted the five children who were featured in the anti-union propaganda film "Waiting for Superman" in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Sitting on the coach are from left to right, Francisco, from Bronx, NY., Bianca, Harlem, NY, Daisy, East Los Angeles, Emily, Silicon Valley Calif., and Anthony from Washington, DC. Obama's support for the film and its message in favor of privatization and union busting gave the movie a boost, but it wasn't long before the facts and reality replaced the Hollywood script and Obama's media events. Pool photo by the Associated Press."Waiting for Superman" was the arrogant attack on public schools and teacher unions hyped across the USA last October by the nation's corporate school reformers. The film, by Davis Guggenheim (who made Al Gore's climate change movie) makes Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Geoffrey Canada, and the nation's charter schools into the heroes while denigrating real public schools and attacking the teacher unions. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is singled out to be the villain of "Waiting for Superman."

The movie received support from the anti-union corporate school reform foundations, like the Gates Foundation. In Chicago, "donors" paid for buses to take hundreds of parents to the show's Chicago screenings. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education supported the film and its attack on public schools and public school teachers. Obama feted the three children featured in the movie at the White House as part of the attack on unions.

"The Inconvenient Truth Behind 'Waiting for Superman'" was produced in New York City by school teachers, parents and students following growing opposition to the replacement of real public schools with charter schools. It is enjoying massive underground success across the USA since its premier at New York City's Riverside Church. The movie was shown at the CORE meeting three weeks ago.

The White House actually released a video of the children from the film talking with Barack Obama at the White House, thereby giving a further boost to the movie, which Obama called "a great American story." The URL for the You Tube video is:

Although there have been many critiques of Waiting for Superman since the movie's premier late last summer, one of the most important appeared in the Washington Post blog hosted by Valeria Strauss, who wrote the day after the Washington, D.C. premier of the film, which was attended by many of the movers and shakers in the Nation's Capital.


Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 09/16/2010

Why 'Waiting for Superman' premiere was chilling, By Valerie Strauss

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee used the occasion of the D.C. premiere of the “Waiting for Superman” documentary — which portrays her as the educational Joan of Arc — to blast D.C. voters yet again for daring to reject her style of school reform.

In front of a star-studded audience — Washington D.C. stars, that is: legislators, government policy makers, journalists, political movers and shakers, etc. — Rhee trashed the majority view of the electorate, which tossed out her patron, Mayor Adrian Fenty. Disagreeing with the vote is one thing; accusing voters of doing something stupid is something else.

“Let me not mince words, and say that yesterday’s election results were devastating — devastating. Not for me, because I’ll be fine. And not even for Fenty, because he’ll be fine, too. It was devastating for the children of Washington, D.C.”

This was the equivalent of saying that there is no use for anybody to hope that she and presumptive mayor Vincent Gray can come to some compromise to keep her here. The only question is when she’ll leave.

The problem is that she said it to an audience who watched a one-sided film that adores public charter schools and demonizes traditional public schools, (which still and always will educate the vast majority of the country’s kids).

The audience was packed with people who affect millions of kids and teachers and parents by passing laws, advising the president, shaping public opinion. And those people gave her an ovation.

Ignored was the fact that there is no scientific basis for her reforms, and some evidence to suggest that some of her key initiatives, such as tying teacher pay to standardized test scores, is counterproductive.

Forget the fact that the film’s assault on teachers unions is unfair; even Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a true believer in Rhee, has noted that it is silly to blame unions, pointing out that the problems exist in states without teachers unions.

According to Politico’s Mike Allen, these were some of the people spotted on the red carpet:

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), David Axelrod, Roland Martin, Michelle Rhee, Davis Guggenheim and Elisabeth Shue, Jeff Skoll, Jim Berk, Kristin Gore, Melody Barnes, Bill Sessions, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Alma Powell, Savannah Guthrie, Jake Tapper, Ed Henry, Luke Russert, Chris Matthews, Mark Halperin, Guy Cecil, Rep. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Daniella Gibbs Leger, Dag Vega, Heather Higginbottom, Rob Nabors, Christine Varney, Julianna Smoot, Ebs Burnough, Raj Shah, Geoff Garin and Juleanna Glover.

Axelrod is senior adviser to President Obama.

Barnes is the director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council.

Miller is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, making him the most powerful person in the House when it comes to education.

Dodd is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor.

Let's hope these people don't decide to let a tendentious movie influence their policy making. Demonizing teachers and traditional public schools, and showing charter schools as a solution to urban public education may make for great theater but it is a bad reflection of reality. Charters by their very design can never be a broad solution to urban education troubles, and besides, the biggest study ever of their effectiveness shows that only 17 percent provide a better education than the nearby public schools.

What we need in education reform are people who understand that there are complexities to fixing schools, that there is no one right way but plenty of wrong ways.

Critics of Rhee's style of reform are often accused of preferring the status quo but in most cases that's just nonsense. What they want are reforms that will take into account the many causes of school and student failure and not pretend that one or two sweeping reforms will turn the corner.

And it is a phony accusation that critics of Rhee in the District only want to protect teachers jobs and have a schools boss that will do everything by consensus. Committed parents and the best teachers know that some teachers ought to go; the question is how.

Anybody who thinks that the divided city or school system can be run entirely by consensus is a fool; good leaders try to bring along their constituencies -- something Rhee never did -- but move ahead even if they can't. Rhee's failure to even try, and then sometimes prevaricate when questioned, was what turned people against her.

It is chilling to consider that last night’s premiere audience thought it was appropriate to applaud Rhee after she accused the city’s voters of bringing disaster on the kids because they didn’t agree with her and Fenty.


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