In 1989, after my parents split up, my mother decided to move my sisters and me to Miami, leaving behind my home in Lima, Peru, my friends, and my school.
I was in first grade, or about to start it.
All I could think about watching Davis (An Inconvenient Truth) Guggeheim’s Watiting for “Superman” was how incredibly different my life could have turned out had we stayed here and I had gone to school in the United States.
I like to think that I knew the answer in my bones back then: Not...quite as good.
I mean, aside from the myriad personal reasons I had for wanting to go back, I knew and felt that I should continue going to school back (in my former) hometown.
My private French school.
I liked my school, which I know is what every kid facing a new environment says, but I’d already been there a couple of years doing pre-K or whatever. Here, I didn’t speak the language at the time, and everything was foreign and confusing. I ended up doing a good part of the first grade over there, shuttling back here during breaks before moving back for good.
Having the benefit of hindsight now I honestly can say that I believed that, that I’d be better off continuing with my learning where I started it, and for good reason. I got a terrific, well-rounded education, one that I didn’t always take full advantage of, which I also now recognize as well. I was a good student and a good learner (most of the time) because I had good teachers (always)...but I could’ve been better since I had the opportunity to be.
Watiting for “Superman” follows five children, most underprivileged, who are attempting to get an education in the American system. A system that is...perhaps not broken, but definitely on the brink; full of promises (“No Child Left Behind,” anyone?), but short on deliverables. American test scores in key disciplines are way low compared to other developed nations – but American kids rank No. 1 in confidence (yay!?).
For a nation that talks a big talk, the United States is not walking the walk on behalf of the children politicians love to trot out and make promises for come election time and whatnot.
And that’s just disheartening because kids...they are the future, and we’re investing so little in them.
What Watiting for “Superman” does is it calls us all out on this because we all can make a difference, regardless of whether we have children, because we all have a voice. We have a right and a duty to effect change by picking the right people to do the job that isn’t getting done: that is, to educate the leaders of tomorrow. Otherwise the world is going to pass America by...and neither Superman nor any other superhero is coming to rescue us or these treated-as-statistics young’uns any time soon.
My Rating ****
Photo: Paramount Pictures.