October 20, 2010 — The much-discussed documentary "Waiting for Superman" opens in theaters nationwide this weekend.
The film analyzes the failures of American public education by following five students, in grades ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, from various parts of the United States, including Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. The film also introduces what the official synopsis of the film calls "education reformers" and their work in the classroom.
There is already a lot of buzz about the film, which has earned praise and criticism from commentators, reformers and educators.
"Popular media has decided to make this its moment of concern regarding education," said U.Va. student Kris Wiley, chair of the scholarship and professional development committee for the Education Council. Curry faculty and area educators, he said, "recognize the importance of capturing that moment. They are admirably prepared to bring years of experience and hard work to the table as we look past a two-hour snapshot to the broader landscape of education."
The panel discussion is open to the public and will follow the Sunday's 1:15 p.m. screening of "Waiting for Superman" at the Regal Cinemas on the Downtown Mall. The United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area is partnering with the U.Va. Education Council in organizing the event.
Scheduled panelists include E. Ashby Kindler, principal of the Community Public Charter School in Charlottesville, and two Curry faculty members, professor Pam Tucker and associate professor Nancy Deutsch.
"The movie raises important points for everyone to consider," said Lynne Crotts, a Curry graduate student who is also a member of the Education Council's scholarship and professional development committee. "It's not an issue of charter versus public schools. Both can be equally successful or not. It's about every child deserving a great school. The Curry School strives to develop teacher leaders to help make that happen. We should all care about all children, and I hope this is the take-away from the movie."
At the screening, the Ed Council also will sponsor a supply drive for the Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle. The organization, created in 1983, provides one-on-one tutoring to illiterate and under-educated adults in the community. Supplies collected Sunday will be distributed to tutors and students in the program. Particularly needed are dry-erase markers, sharpened pencils, pens, spiral notebooks, index cards, reams of standard copy paper, adult backpacks and gift cards for office-supply stores.