I caught a part of the Fall film preview by NPR's Bob Mondello over the weekend. The ten-year-old Audrey is looking forward to the Tron sequel, admittedly, and the tech blogger in me can't wait to watch (the fallout from) The Social Network. But the film that I'm most looking forward to is the documentary Waiting for Superman.
It's one of several soon-to-be-released documentaries that tackles the subject of education and education reform.
Waiting for Superman
Directed by David Guggenheim who won an Academy Award for his film An Inconvenient Truth, a lot of people are hoping that Waiting for Superman will do the same for education as his earlier work did for global warming: force us to address an impending crisis. I've heard all sorts of mixed reviews -- that the film is heavy on emotion and rhetoric, light on a substantive path to reform. Opens in select cities September 24. Official site
Race to Nowhere
This film looks at the pressures we are placing on students to "achieve" -- in academics, sports, arts, community service. Directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon, Race to Nowhere looks at some of the drawbacks from all the emphasis we place on children -- depression, suicide, cheating, burnout -- and questions whether we are really equipping students to succeed. Opening in New York and LA on September 10. Official site
A documentary short by Avis and Bruce Richards, Lunch will examine what kids are fed at school via the National School Lunch Program. The film looks at the relationship between diet and academics, as well as the relationship between the political and the food system.
I'd like to think that the number of documentaries focused on education marks a shift (or will at least spur a shift) in the national consciousness about the failings of our school system. Even more importantly, I'd like to hope that that shift isn't just in thought, but in action. I hope that what we get isn't just a movie script, but real change.