Cinema Forum: Waiting for Superman

Monday 17 January, at 6.15pm

Should children wait for Superman? Cinema-forum on the effects of education privatization in the North and in the South

[download brochure: cover, back]

The title of the film Waiting for Superman (D. Guggenheim, 2010, Universal) refers to a child’s dream of being rescued by a super-hero. Specifically, in the film, the Superman metaphor refers to the hopes of poor children of escaping failing public schools and attending private ones that, they expect, will offer them a better schooling experience and better opportunities in life. In fact, the film openly advocates the introduction of market mechanisms in education systems, such as school choice, and conceives the private management of schools as much superior to that of conventional public schools.

Waiting for Superman is contextualized in the US, but similar policies to those advocated in the film are being debated and implemented in other countries all around the world, both in the North and in the South. In fact, today, policies such as charter-schools, public-private partnerships and vouchers are becoming increasingly central in the agendas of important aid agencies, NGOs and international organizations operating in low-income contexts.

Waiting for Superman has received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, among other awards, and has been described by critics as “powerful, passionate, and potentially revolution-inducing” (Entertainment Weekly). However, the policy proposals the film promotes raise many concerns and passionate debates in the education field. To what extent are education policies involving the private sector and choice sustainable? To what extent are they feasible in low-income contexts? Do they generate more inequalities than conventional education provision? How do they affect the work of teachers? This IS Academie “Education and Development” public event will address these and other questions. The event will consist of:

  • 18.15                   Doors open (please be in time)
  • 18.30-20.20    Film showing Waiting for Superman (112’)
  • 20.20-21.00    Discussion with Steve Klees (University of Maryland) and Bowen Paulle (University of Amsterdam)
  • 21:00                  Drinks reception

Monday 17 January, at 6.15pm


Lijnbaansgracht 236
1017 PH Amsterdam

IMPORTANT: This event is FREE but you need to confirm your attendance to Joosje Hoop [] Places are limited and we cannot guarantee a seat to those that have not registered.