Announcements, Events

Screening and Panel Talk: The Inconvenient Truth behind Waiting for Superman, Wednesday, 10/5, 3:30-5pm

Waiting for Superman, the provocative documentary from director Davis Guggenheim, follows the stories of several students who aspire to be selected in the lottery for entrance into the charter schools in Harlem, the Bronx, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Palo Alto, California. When the film was released in September 2010, it generated widespread praise and criticism of its focus on charter schools, the “superman” answer to a largely failing American public school system. At Teachers College, the film drew critical responses by a panel of experts who viewed it as far too simplistic — not thoroughly grounded in reality. Waiting for Superman became the topic of a lively Socratic conversation that probed the challenges and priorities of public education today.

Enter the Grassroots Education Movement Production, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman. Aiming to transform public education, school governance, and teacher unions, this DVD brings to the table ten major reforms: small class sizes; excellent community schools for all children; more teaching-less testing; parent and teacher empowerment and leadership; equitable funding for all schools; anti-racist education policies; culturally relevant curriculum; expanding pre-kindergarten and early intervention programs; qualifies and experiences educators and educational leaders; and democratic and social justice unionism. Questions the Movement, Will the Real Reformers Please Stand Up?Meeting that challenge on Wednesday, October 5th is a new panel that explores the history, problems, politics, and trajectory of America’s public schools. Following the screening of both films, Ansley Erickson, TC Assistant Professor of History & Education; Christina Collins, Lead Researcher & Policy Analyst for the UFT; and Dino Sossi, filmmaker and TC doctoral student; and Ellen Livingston, doctoral candidate and former Instructor in Social Studies Education at Teachers College, stand up to address key questions and concerns regarding the state of our nation’s schools. The Inconvenient Truth behind Waiting for Superman (65 minutes), will be shown on Wednesday, October 5th, followed by the panel discussion. This event is preceded by the screening of Waiting for Superman (111 minutes) on Tuesday, October 4th, with Q&A led by Kappa Delta Phi.Ansley Erickson is Assistant Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She studies the history of educational inequality, focusing particularly on desegregation and schools in metropolitan contexts. She has been awarded an NAE/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. Prior to coming to Teachers College, Erickson taught in the New York City public schools and worked in independent documentary film.Dino Daniel George Sossi is an award-winning researcher; teacher; filmmaker, producer, video journalist; writer/editor; radio host; photographer; stand-up comedian; and spoken word performer. He has been interviewed, along with Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim regarding his documentary film Waiting for Superman, by Emmy Award-winning CBS News Anchor Katie Couric. Dino has worked at AOL, CBS and CNN, as well as on the staff of the Department of External Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is currently a graduate student in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College.

Ellen Livingston is a doctoral candidate in the Program in Social Studies at Teachers College who specializes in the use of documentary film in the social studies classroom. Ellen has worked on a variety of projects creating curricular materials for film, including Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Teaching the Levees: A Curriculum for Democratic Dialogue and Civic Engagement, and Let Freedom Swing: Conversations on Jazz and Democracy. Ellen holds an A.B. in history from Princeton and an M.A. in social studies education from Teachers College. She has worked as a journalist, editor, social studies teacher, and for the past three years was an Instructor in the Program in Social Studies at TC.

Christina Collins holds a joint Ph.D. in History and Education and a graduate certificate in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a Spencer Fellow in Urban Education at Penn, the Dodge Fellow at the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University-Newark, (where she worked on a documentary film about youth and the Newark riots), and a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Her first book, “Ethnically Qualified”: Race, Merit, and the Selection of Urban Teachers, 1920-1980, was published by Teachers College Press in January 2011. She is currently serving as the lead researcher and policy analyst on charter schools for the United Federation of Teachers in New York City.

Persons wishing to attend one or both screenings, in addition to the panel talk, are encouraged to rsvp by Friday, September 30th.

This event is hosted by the Gottesman Libraries and Kappa Delta Phi, the Teachers College Honors Society.

Where: 306 Russell



  1. Pingback: Cobble Hill’s charter battle: Two years later - The Brooklyn Ink - October 2, 2019

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