September 8, 2010: The following blog post by CCSA President and CEO Jed Wallace originally appeared on TakePart.com.
If there is one thing that most Americans could agree on, it would be that we want a first-rate education for our children--great teachers, great curriculum and great schools to prepare them for life beyond high school.
Unfortunately, I think most of us have seen firsthand that the U.S. is not yet living up to that promise, as is highlighted so poignantly in Waiting for "Superman," a new education documentary in theaters this fall.
The film isn't the final word on education, but rather a rallying point to start a conversation about how we can work together to ensure that every child gets a great education. I hope that people leave the theater talking about education and most of all that they feel inspired to get involved in improving our education system, whether that means lobbying our elected leaders, donating to their local schools or volunteering in the classroom.
The film highlights the challenges and the promise of our schools through multiple interlocking stories--from a handful of students and their families whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find lasting solutions within a broken education system. Davis Guggenheim, who also directed An Inconvenient Truth, interviewed leaders in the field of education, including philanthropist Bill Gates; Geoffrey Canada, President of the Harlem Children's Zone; Washington, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee; and Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Founders David Levin and Mike Feinberg. I am proud to say that the film also features a couple of California charter schools--KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School and Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City.
Both of these schools have accomplished amazing things and showcase the best of what our public charter schools can be. California has long thrived on innovation and this state is at the forefront of many exciting education reforms, among them support for successful charter school programs.
Over 341,000 students in California currently attend charter schools, and there are more than 200 charter schools in the Los Angeles area alone, which I see as an indicator of the incredible excitement and energy around education here. The issues that Waiting for "Superman" highlights are ones that educators experience every day and discuss with their coworkers. This movie takes that conversation to everyone--parents, grandparents, business leaders, community boosters and students, so that they can commit to supporting our schools.
More than 47,000 people have already pledged to see *Waiting for "Superman," *and I encourage you to join them by visiting WaitingForSuperman.com. Take a friend. Start the conversation today and take action tomorrow.