by Alexander Russo
American Enterprise Institute
July 01, 2014
Policy Study
The 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman” made millions of Americans more aware of the inadequate schools, indifferent teachers, and under-educated students that were increasingly coming to characterize public education. But what was the film’s long-term impact? For advocates of greater school choice and education reform, it may be tempting to argue that it had none. Yet the most important contribution that “Waiting for Superman” has made to American society may be the lessons that it offers to concerned citizens who want to use documentary film as their medium of advocacy. For instance, the film might have better served its purpose if it had addressed broad, fundamental issues and not just one narrow situation, or if it had featured a more diverse cast of main characters, or resisted the urge to be comprehensive.

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