waiting for superman movie

See Below after the break

I’ve seen so many amazing documentaries. Right now I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a better documentary than “Waiting for Superman“. Brilliantly executed. Explains the issues clearly and intelligently. Demonstrates the affects of our failing schools at a macro national and international level, and also on a very personal level by following the story of a handful of kids in our schools around the country. This film was powerful; insightful; emotionally gripping; and so beautifully cinematic. If this doesn’t receive an Oscar, then the Oscars will no longer have any meaning. Very few movies are required viewing for everyone, this is one. It’s as simple as that.

Perhaps the most powerful message of Waiting for Superman is its title. The school bus with our children is heading for a cliff, the driver is asleep at the wheel. No one is coming to save the day. We cannot wait for Superman. We CAN become aware, and act.

In the classroom, overachievers are typically rewarded. Within the public school bureaucracy, overachievers are not rewarded. In fact, underachievers are rewarded. And so, is it any wonder why even though we all continue to pay more and more for our public school system, we continue to see worse and worse results? It’s one thing to be sloppy about the DMV, it’s another thing to allow our kids to be raised ignorant, when they are the future of our country, and when we all are paying so heavily for their education.

Here’s a fantastic 2 minute intro detailing the central problem created by our public education system that this film addresses:


Educators often blame failing schools on the poor parenting in troubled areas. This film demonstrated otherwise; and suggests that troubled areas are troubled in large part because its schools fail the communities by pumping out failure. These are people’s lives, carelessly lost in the balance as the bureaucracy moves along serving its own ends. The shocking thing here is in the film’s heavy attack on Teachers’ Unions, openly calling them a menace against education. Union contracts prevent administrators from making important management decisions, making it impossible to run a school effectively. It’s near impossible to fire bad teachers, so very few schools dare to try. It’s impossible to reward superstar teachers for better performance. Shocking hidden camera footage shows what goes on in classrooms with bad teachers, and behind the scenes in the “Rubber Room” where teachers earn full salary to show up everyday and go to sleep. Union contracts also drain needed funds into unusually lavish employee benefits and pensions. Charter schools are exempt from states’ Collective Bargaining Laws (laws that REQUIRE all public teachers to join a teacher’s union), and this film did a great job in demonstrating how a charter school can become a massive success, in the poorest ghetto, helping those children outperform children from much wealthier neighborhoods.

Upset critics are calling the film a love letter to Charter Schools. Not true. It’s an attempt to look at alternative ways of setting up our education system. Let me say that the most brilliant alternative I’ve heard is a concept developed in the 1950s by Milton Friedman called School Vouchers.

milton friedman
Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics, and I will talk more about him on this blog in the future. Let me simply say that he is one of my biggest heroes, and he’s had a massive influence on me. In fact I challenge you to search youtube and find a video clip of Milton Friedman that isn’t insightful, clear, and mind blowingly brilliant. I’m serious, I dare you


A School Voucher gives a parent the amount of money that would have been spent on their child to use as they see fit towards any school, public or private. This causes public schools to compete with private schools, forcing them to become accountable to parents in order to compete for funds from children’s attendance. This allows many more private education options to spring up to absorb the new market for voucher funds. Right now, public schools get their money whether they do a good job or not. Vouchers force a school to do a good job if they want to receive funding, and for once forcing school administrators and teachers to move their ass and try to provide a good education if they want to receive funding. I’ll let Milton Friedman explain:

Milton Friedman passed away a few years ago, but his Foundation for Educational Choice lives on. And let me tell you how honored I am that they will hold a reception at my house this Thursday, Oct. 7 to discuss the press release of a SHOCKING new report on public employee pensions/benefits and how this is a disaster threatening our schools and our state budget. This is also an opportunity to network, mix and learn from others involved in the Free Market and Educational Choice movements. This is a free event with wine, light drinks and light catering. This isn’t a Hollywood party, it’s not really even my event, but an event the Foundation has put together with a wide range of people and age and everyone is invited. No guest list. But please do email me (judd@hustlebear.com) to confirm if you can come by. The event starts at 6pm, speakers will begin at 6:30pm for about an hour. The rest of the night is mixing and connecting. I’m looking forward to this and expect it to be insightful and fun to connect with some really interesting intelligent people. See you there!

The Foundation For Educational Choice presents
Trouble Brewing: The Disaster of California Pensions
Thursday, October 7 2010
No cost to attend
Email me for address


Oh, by the way, did you see the video I linked in an earlier blog post of the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confronting a teacher about policies of the Teachers’ Union? No? Go check it out. This is what fighting the system looks like.