In the midst of a panel discussion following the Washington premiere of the education documentary Waiting for ‘Superman’ on Sept. 15, CNN’s Roland Martin breathlessly told his followers on Twitter that Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, “says they are going to look at making change to teachers tenure in their contracts. THIS IS HUGE.”
Martin isn’t the only one caught up in the moment. Today, the enthusiasm among education reformers is palpable. And why not? This seems like an amazing time, with NBC hosting a big education summit across its various networks to kick off the school year, a president seemingly committed to bold reform, and a feature film, Waiting for ‘Superman’, from a major studio — made by none other than the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth!
Although the momentum seems unstoppable, don’t pop the champagne or, worse, declare ‘mission accomplished’ just yet. Waiting for ‘Superman’ is a hard-hitting documentary that lays bare many of America’s education problems. But despite all the attention it’s bringing to education, there are still more reasons to bet against reform than for it.