Book Review: Waiting for Superman, edited by Karl Weber

Waiting for Superman-2Well… I am very behind on posting my book reviews (a practice I had on my old blog), and I am even more behind in my goal of reading a book a week! I don’t think I’ll make 52 books this year, but I will continue to post them to see how far I can get 🙂 Expect lots of book reviews in the upcoming weeks as I catch up with posts for the books I’ve already read!

This past summer, I had the opportunity to work as a facilitator at a social justice leadership conference for youth. Each grade had a different theme of social justice that they focused on, and the 9th and 10th graders that I worked with focused on educational justice. Part of the experience involved watching the film Waiting for Superman and a conversation regarding its relevancy to Memphis. I’d had this book sitting in on my shelf for several years, so I decided it was finally time to read it. As a current teacher at a non-traditional school in Memphis, this book has been relevant to me for other reasons. In fact, a lot of the suggestions in the book are applied at my school, which I think is interesting.

waiting for superman

Here is the summary of the book from Amazon:

“The American public school system is in crisis, failing millions of students, producing as many drop-outs as graduates, and threatening our economic future. By 2020, the United States will have 123 million high-skill jobs to fill—and fewer than 50 million Americans qualified to fill them.

Educators, parents, political leaders, business people, and concerned citizens are determined to save our educational system. Waiting for “Superman” offers powerful insights from some of those at the leading edge of educational innovation, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, and more.

Waiting for “Superman” is an inspiring call for reform and includes special chapters that provide resources, ideas, and hands-on suggestions for improving the schools in your own community as well as throughout the nation.

For parents, teachers, and concerned citizens alike, Waiting for “Superman” is an essential guide to the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing America’s schools.”

My rating: 3.5/5 stars. The book was a nice supplement to the movie (which I had to watch 5 times over the summer, so I’m pretty familiar with it). The book, in my opinion, offers more solutions for the problems discussed, while the movie focuses more on the problems and personal stories of students entering lotteries at various esteemed charter schools. However, I took a lot of the information in the book with a grain of salt. Educational justice is a topic I am passionate about, and I enjoyed reading different perspectives on the issues that exist, even if I did not agree with all of the recommended solutions. I think this is an important book for concerned citizens to read, but I advise people to do so with a critical eye and to do extra research. There is definitely some controversy involved here. The most valuable part of this book and film to me were the conversations it evoked with the students I was working with; my opinion without this framework would probably differ.

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