(July 17, 2011)
The documentary Waiting for Superman is a sad one on many counts. First, you learn how children, especially in poorer areas, are systematically damaged academically by institutionalized failure. Second, you witness the ludicrous lottery system through which families must maneuver in the hopes of getting their children into "better" schools. Third, the sympathy-evoking commentary moves into a sophisticated guilt-trip, urging effective government intervention, when such intervention is the root cause of the problem. Fourth, it fails to identify that the least problematic area of state schools is their academic record, omitting the anti-family, anti-Christian nature of public education.
The title references the rude awakening of one of the education reform advocates featured in the film. He describes his dismay when, as a child, he was informed by his mom that Superman wasn't real. He explains that it wasn't like discovering Santa Claus wasn't real. It was more that he always figured Superman would come and save him, his family, and his neighborhood from the multi-generational dead-end options of their lives.
The Bible places education in the hands of the family, not the state. When Scriptural jurisdiction is violated, the results will look like the judgment that has fallen upon American education and society. Waiting for Superman only encourages finding solutions apart from God's design. Any reform efforts that don't identify the original purpose of statist education will bring about band-aid remedies on a cancerous malaise, at best.
This is a tragic situation on all accounts, but is additionally disturbing when you consider the numbers of professing Christian parents who continue to bolster this Baal-type system by convincing themselves that their children are being salt and light in a teacher's union-controlled system that desires to sever the relationship between parents and children, and children from their Creator.
May God have mercy!
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].