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Waiting for Superman

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Jailen Robinson

on 19 December 2014

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Transcript of Waiting for Superman

Waiting for "Superman"
Director Information
In this film the director, Davis Guggenheim, analyzes the school system of America and shows how it has declined. Guggenheim shows the lives of five promising students, Anthony, Bianca, Daisy, Emily and Francisco, to provide real world evidence of what school life is like, with all it's issues and successes. He also uses facts and statistics to show their possibility of these students graduating and continuing to college. He surveys "drop-out factories" and "academic sinkholes" and the different effects between a "good teacher" and a "bad teacher" has on a student.
Film Background

Waiting For Superman
was created by the Academy Award winning filmmaker, Davis Guggenheim. After a year spent following and observing teachers, Guggenheim realized the issues at hand in education and feared sending his own children to a failing school. He later decided to create this film to expose the nations' declining school system in hopes to trigger a wake up call.
Rhetorical Analysis
The filmmaker used many rhetorical strategies to grasp the audience's attention. His strongest points in the film were clearly showing logos, ethos, and pathos. He used these strategies to structure the film.

The filmmaker used many logical appeals in the documentary. One of the logical appeals he used was showing how hard it was to fire a teacher in Illinois compared with other professions. The filmmaker found " 1 in 59 doctors, 1 in 97 lawyers, and 1 in 2500 teachers are fired each year." It is easier for a doctor to be dismissed and a lawyer to be disbarred then for a teacher to be fired.

The filmmaker used ethos to prove his arguement is valid. He had multiple professionals in the film to verify the problem of the school system was the government, teacher's unions, and lemon teachers. He chose educator reformers, a superintendent, and families from across the country to verify his claim of the students being cheated out of a good education.

Lastly, the filmmaker used emotional appeals to make the film feel more like reality. The film was called waiting for superman. He called the film this because when he was young he believed superman would come and save him from the ghetto. Then his mother told him that superman wasn't real. He realized that no one was coming to save him. This is what inspired him to create this film. He strikes sympathy into the hearts of the audience by showing the individual lives of the students that want more for their lives but they are stuck with no one coming to save them.
Overview
The film begins with Geoffrey Canada (president of Harlem Children's Zone) telling a story of one of the saddest moments in his life, when his mother told him Superman didn't exist. He cried after that because he knew there was no longer anyone that could save him from poverty. It then transitions into introducing Daisy, Anthony, Emily, Bianca, and Francisco, 5 kids with stories that serve as the prime example of the nations failing education system. Unfortunately, these 5 children's future will depend on a winning lottery to a charter school. In between each of these stories, statistics are shown informing the unfortunate facts of our nations "educated" students revealing that we are hopelessly improficient in math and reading even though the government has provided more money per student than ever before. Also, "drop-out factories" and "academic sinkholes" are carefully surveyed and analyzed throughout the movie. Michelle Rhee, chancellor of
Washington D.C.'s public schools, is then introduced with her plan to reform the education system. This plan ultimately fails when the Teacher's union rejects the idea of even holding a vote. Other innovative methods are proposed to reforming the education system that could aid in following President George Bush's plan to leave no child behind. The film then transitions to the most suspenseful and emotional scenes where the lotteries are held for Kipp LA Prep, Harlem Success Academy , Summit Prep, and SEED. Out of the 5 students, only Emily and Anthony were fortunate enough to enter into excellent charter schools. The film concludes in a hopeful tone and leaves the audience with a call to action to one by one help reform the nations' education system for the better.
Video
Why we chose this clip
Comments
Criticism

By Davis Guggenheim
Superman symbolizes a savior to humanity and hope. With children experiencing poverty and economic struggles, all they can hope for is Superman to save them from an uneducated life and, consequently, a difficult future. For this reason, Superman is made such an important symbol in the film.
Work Cited:
"Waiting for "Superman"" TakePart. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
Background on “Waiting for Superman” (n.d.): n. pag. Www.utla.net. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
Superman Wallpaper. 2013. MattFradd. Web. 15 Dec. 2014
Davis Guggenheim. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
Waiting for Superman. Digital image. Amazon. Amazon, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
Waiting for Superman: Daisy. N.p., www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv872t6xvxw. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
Daisy. Digital image. EdWeek. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
We chose a film about one of the five students, Daisy. Daisy wants to become a veterinarian. She's smart and motivated, but her school zoning will lead her to a high school that is an "academic sinkhole". She is unlikely to graduate and even less likely to go to a four year university. Her parents want the best for her, but public school isn't the answer and they can't afford private schools. This shows the problem with the education system, and how hard it is to get a good education.
In the film W
aiting for Superman
, they portray corporate reformers as the education experts and make teachers and their union the enemy. They never talk about the many amazing educators in America who put their heart into their job. The film never gives any real solutions to fix our public schools, instead they just say that charter schools are the solution. They never show any research that charter schools would be better.
This clip of "Waiting for Superman" shows one of the individuals, Daisy, that the documentary followed. She is so determined that it inspires other students to be more dedicated in school. Daisy is hoping to win the lottery of going to the other school because statistics show that if she doesn't she will be too far behind in education for any college to even remediate her. Daisy breaks my heart because she wants so much more for her life but she has been set up to receive so little. Students like Daisy are the reason why parents are fighting and the filmmaker is fighting for better education for students that are sentenced to a drop out factory. I believe Daisy should be able to learn with the same education as everyone else. I believe she is able to become a surgeon or veterinarian if the education system supports her thirst for learning.
Rhetorical Analysis
The filmmaker uses metaphors to describe what is going on in America's education system. He says principals "do a dance with the lemons" which is comparing passing lemons to passing the bad teachers from school to school. The principals hope that the bad teachers they get this year are better then last year and they can finally make lemonade out of what they receive. Another metaphor was calling schools that only graduate less than 10% of their students drop out factories. The filmmaker believes those schools are just there to create drop outs that turn into criminals or end up dead.

The filmmaker has a determined attitude. He had to push himself to make something out of himself and he became a filmmaker. He defeated the odds and he doesn't believe that making students defy the odds should be the norm. He believes someone should change the circumstances, or the odds. He wants to motivate students that already receive a great education and take advantage of it. Then, he wants to change the education system of the drop out factories to save the students who go there.

In conclusion, the filmmaker wanted to make a film that would be for every age level and every person. He made the film where it would touch the lives of a person in every circumstance in life. The film will motivate the audience that is still in school, inspire teachers to become better, and make parents believe that their child can be better than they ever were.
"Great schools won't come from winning the lottery, they won't come from Superman, they will come from YOU."
Cinematic Techniques
Facts and statistics are shown in imaginative,fun ways rather than just adding the traditional graph.
While making a point, mixed media clips are added to help support or give evidence to the claim. Depending on the type of clip being shown, it would help set the tone and mood for the part of the film.
Attitude and Viewpoint
The attitude of the film toward the issue was negative. Clearly, the creators of the film are completely against the corruption in today's school system. They're eager for reform and they want it right now. They succeed in communicating their eagerness to the audience by closing the film with a long but effective call to action.
Full transcript