For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians’ promises, our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children.
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education “statistics” have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of _ Waiting for ’Superman’_. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.
However, embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, and ultimately questioning the role of unions in maintaining the status quo, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have—in reshaping the culture—refused to leave their students behind. —Sundance Film Festival
He was born Philip Davis Guggenheim in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles Guggenheim and Marion Guggenheim. He graduated from Brown University in 1986. He is married to American actress Elisabeth Shue.
His credits as a producer and director include Training Day, The Shield, Alias, 24, NYPD Blue, ER, Deadwood, and Party of Five and the documentaries The First Year and Teach. He directed the pilot episode of The Unit.
He directed and produced An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. His most recent feature film is Gracie.
He directed Barack Obama’s biographical film, which aired during the Democratic National Convention, and Obama’s infomercial, which was broadcast on 29 October 2008.
Davis directed and was an executive producer of the 2009 pilot for Melrose Place. His brother-in-law Andrew Shue starred on the 90’s version of the series.
He most recently completed It Might Get Loud, a documentary that glimpses… read more
A sobering survey of the many ills of the system from the tenure system to federal and local meddling (too many cooks), but as Salon's O'Hehir observes, "Guggenheim does not seem aware that extensive educational research has failed to identify what makes a “great teacher” or how to train one, nor that there are strikingly different and conflicting strategies for teaching literacy." Meanwhile, the lottery is unreal.
How can you make a doc about public education without critiquing the ineffectiveness of standardized testing? And how seriously am I to take a private school educated man, with private school educated children, who says he's dedicated to public school change? Hollow and empty rhetoric. If anything, it shines a light on public education for those not in the system, but it's no way in-depth or especially informative.
"This is your brain." Manohla Dargis in the New York Times: "This is your brain on a Gaspar Noé movie. More specifically, Enter the