I’m not yet lucky enough to be a parent, but one day I hope to be. Instinctually, I know I would want to give my child the very best path through life, ensuring that they are safe, happy and given every opportunity to succeed. Sadly, there are people in this world that don’t share this ‘happy home, happy mind, Happy heart’ mentality, people that make conscious choices every single day that adversely affect the future of our youth. I’m not talking about parents, I’m talking about those that regulate and dictate the path of our children’s education, the people we elect as our leaders.
Davis Guggenheim is a on a one man crusade! To me and many others he is an astute visionary who takes that which is broken and shines his light so brightly it makes you see his message without the need to overstate the obvious. He expresses himself in such a way that, subconsciously, you adopt his outlook and mirror his conviction. You will know Davis from his 2006 expose ‘An Inconvenient truth’, where along with former vice president Al Gore he brought the very real issue of global warming to the masses in a medium that most people could relate to: Cinema.
His 2010 film ‘Waiting for superman’ handles the alarming issue of the US education system with the same gentle assertion and non-confrontational style as his previous works. The film outlines what most American adults don’t want to acknowledge, that the education system in USA is in dire straits and the future of its vibrant youth is in the hands of a bunch of self-interested adults. Davis positions his message through the eyes of five eager young minds in the greater New York area. These children (and their parents) are absorbing; they all share an uncompromising desire to make something of their lives. Even at their young age they acknowledge and subscribe to the importance of education, If only it were that easy! We quickly learn their ambition is stifled by an organisation hell bent on self-regulation, tenure and the inability to adapt.
Although ‘Waiting for Superman’ is based on the American Education system, it's message is universal. Where I come from, New Zealand, we face the same struggles. We have an education system regulated by officials who are constantly at odds with the bodies they represent. Crucial decisions are made about Kiwi kids’ futures every day, but like the schools outlined in ‘Waiting for Superman’ we are tied down by bureaucracy and the unwavering belief that the teachers who interact with our country’s children every single day don’t know what’s really best for them.
I expect that Davis is resigned to the fact that his film mightn’t bring about the changes needed to secure a brighter future. What is important though is that he and others like him are committed to illuminating the gaps so that more people are aware of an enemy that sits in plain view. As proven with An Inconvenient Truth, you can never underestimate the power of numbers. If we don’t act now we will jeopardise the further generations to come.
If you want hard-hitting, confrontational propaganda go watch some Michael Moore. If you want intelligent, undiluted facts delivered in a simple, clear and emotionally driven manner, then watch ‘Waiting for Superman’. You won’t regret it half as much if you don’t and do nothing.