Waiting for Superman Approaches: It’s Hard Waiting for the EduFilm Phenomenon

I am so excited, I can hardly wait. Another great education movie is coming out, and this one may be the best of them all! Get a taste of Waiting for Superman by watching the trailer:

After a lot of well-deserved attention, the movie’s national premiere comes tomorrow: Friday, September 24. To mark the opening of the movie, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute today issued a media advisory with quotes from some leading lights of education reform, including our own Ben DeGrow:

“The promise of this film lies in opening millions of eyes to the entrenched educational obstacles that keep so many students from achieving success. Waiting for ‘Superman’ can help bolster the political will for smart, courageous, visionary leaders to break down these obstacles and further advance educational excellence through parental choice, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Let’s seize the moment and bust open wide the doors of opportunity.”


Could Waiting for Superman be that big of a deal? Hard to say. Unfortunately, we in Colorado have to wait until October 15 for the movie to arrive (stay tuned for forthcoming details). In that spirit, I have to concur with the theme of this new website: Colorado Kids Can’t Wait. The site isn’t talking about waiting for the movie premiere but about the need for important education reforms. You really ought to check out the site, as it offers some great ideas for how parents and other community members can get involved, such as:

Meanwhile, some other interesting reactions to the movie’s premiere: Writing at Jay Greene’s blog, Matt Ladner posts a relevant clip from the Oprah show and says he’s “starting to entertain the notion that Waiting for Superman might be a very big deal.” And the Fordham Foundation’s Mike Petrilli adds an important caution:

It’s great that more Americans are going to learn about promising education reform strategies, and the various ways that the teachers unions and the rest of the education blob tries to strangle them in their crib. But let’s put that “we know what works” talk back in the bottle, where it belongs. We’re a few steps into a long journey, and the more humility we bring along with us, the better.


Humility rather than hubris? Yes, of course. But also hopefulness and hard work. Going forward we need them all. And many more should join us after this sure-to-be-successful, widely-viewed film.