Skip to main content

Waiting for Superman (Review)

I really wanted to see Waiting for Superman when it came out in theaters, and I finally had a chance to see it a few weeks ago. That I ended up watching it the day before the Oscar's was coincidence, although I was shocked that the film wasn't even nominated for Best Documentary.

A lot has already been written about the movie, so I'll stick to my immediate impressions, which I logged right after seeing the film:
  • The American public school education system is broken.
  • We now lag the other major powers in student performance.
  • Good teachers are vitally important, but unfortunately there aren't enough of them and there are too many mediocre and bad teachers. Even worse, bad teachers are almost never fired.
  • We don't measure teacher performance well enough.
  • We need some way of rewarding excellent teachers.
  • Some public schools are essentially "dropout factories".
  • Charter schools have arisen as a viable alternative to public schools.
If you're an American and you haven't seen Waiting for Superman, I highly recommend you do so. Whether you have kids or not, and whether you can afford to send your children to private schools or not, this film should resonate with you.

Because the kids featured in the film -- whose last best hope for a decent education is a fucking lottery -- are after all your kids and my kids. They might be the future innovators of our country who create the next Google that revitalizes our economy in 2020, but they are much, much more likely to be unskilled, minimum wage workers, or inmates filling up our prisons, or, simply, dead.

There's a brilliant exchange in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, between the principal Richard Vernon and the janitor Carl. The principal, frustrated managing difficult students, vents to Carl. "Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me."

Carl's response might have come right from Waiting for Superman. "I wouldn't count on it."


Popular posts from this blog

The Business Model Innovation Factory by Saul Kaplan (Book Review)

As a culture, we strive for personal transformation. Whether it's eating better and getting fit, redefining our professional value proposition through training and education, or simply trying to be kinder and gentler, we're constantly reinventing who we are and what we can do. We may not be successful all the time, or achieve breakthroughs like those featured on The Biggest Loser or facilitated by Tony Robbins , but millions of people successfully transform and reinvent themselves every year. Unfortunately, the very organizations where we work generally do not do the same. As Saul Kaplan elaborates in The Business Model Innovation Factory , most organizations struggle to transform from their core, initial business models and tend to become stagnant and vulnerable to disruptive competitors. The example Kaplan leads with is Blockbuster, which for a time owned the brick and mortar video and DVD rental space, until they were "netflixed" by a disruptive competitor (

2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference

In July, I will be presenting at the 2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference, an event focused on the latest technologies, best practices, and the business benefits of delivering great digital experiences. Below is the description for my session: Session:  BUS-S20 Date/Time:   Monday, July 21, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Successfully Enabling Enterprise Content Management, Cloud, Mobile, and Social Business at Superior Group Superior Group focuses on the agile delivery of people, process and project outsourcing solutions. Our session will detail how this organization accelerated its content management and social business needs by implementing a combination of content management, cloud, mobile, and collaboration solutions. Attend this session and you will have an opportunity to learn from Frank Gullo, Director of Digital and Mobile Strategy at Superior Group and IBM Social Business Insights blog contributor, on how a mid-sized organization transformed its digital capabilities a

10 Suggestions for Reopening Gyms in NY State

It’s been over 90 days since gyms were closed in NY State to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and this past week Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue with the following update: "We are still looking at the science and the data. There has been information that those situations have created issues in other states. If we have that information we don't want to then go ahead till we know what we're doing. Right? This is a road that no one has traveled on before. And logic suggests that if you see a problem in other states then you explore it before you move forward in your state." Cuomo also suggested the exercisers in gyms would likely not wear masks which could spread more of the virus. While we all can applaud anchoring policy to science and data, it’s questionable if this has been done here. Despite literally months to research and formulate a plan, NYS has not offered any definitive science backed information tied to re-opening gyms. More troubling, NY has