I said it before, go see Waiting for Superman (or conversely, wait until it comes out on DVD). There are other films on education out there but you might want to judge for yourself since this one has received so much hype.
As I said in my review, the film's website says it is an "exhaustive" of public education. Judge for yourself if you walk away understanding the history (total or recent) of public education in this country after you watch this film.
Watch the film carefully and see if you see ONE, just one good to great regular public school shown OR even mentioned. It doesn't happen.
Listen carefully (and don't blink) or you will see the ONE mention that oh, by the way, charters, overall, don't do better than regular public schools. (This is not a reason to not try them but yes, it's a reason to not believe they are the silver bullet that will cure all public education ills.)
As I said in my review, it's interesting to hear Michelle Rhee (Oprah's "warrior woman" who may, in the near future, lose her job because she was not so respectful to the guy who ran and won for mayor of D.C.) talk about slashing central administration while our Superintendent expands ours. Lynne Varner, in her editorial opinion piece on it, talked about "bloated" bureaucracies in public schools but she and the rest of the Times editorial board remain strangely silent over what we have in Seattle Public Schools.
And then we have the furious backpedaling of David Guggenheim (the director) and Geoffrey Canada, the creator of the Harlem Children's Zone in NYC, on Oprah and today on KUOW. They now say, oh, we know there are a lot of good regular public schools. We're not saying either is better. Really? So how come none of them merit a mention in your film? How come there's no mention that regular public schools take ALL comers but not charters who can write their charter to not include services like Special Ed and ELL? How about figuring out the best of what is working in both kinds of schools? Oh.
So see it, judge for yourself. But while this country's public education does need reform, what we need is a balanced look at the MANY things we could and should be doing to support students AND teachers for better outcomes.