Florida Legislators to watch `Waiting for Superman’

December 7, 2010

BY JOHN KENNEDY, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE – Florida lawmakers will host a private screening on Tuesday of the film Waiting for Superman, the pro-charter school documentary that blames teachers’ unions for much of education’s woes.

The House and Senate are inviting lawmakers, government officials and education community leaders to the showing at Tallahassee’s Miracle 5 Cinema. The 4 p.m. showing will be followed by an hourlong panel discussion, with participants still-to-be-determined, said David Bishop, spokesman for Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.

But prospects of Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, hosting their own version of television’s At the Movies around education reform didn’t sit well with the state’s largest teachers’ union.

“It’s a terribly skewed view of education,” said Mark Pudlow, a spokesman for the Florida Education Association. “But I’m sure the members will enjoy it immensely.”

Waiting for Superman has achieved a status among Republican school reformers that parallels the way Citizen Kane is viewed by graduate film students. It champions the success of urban charter schools, in contrast to the slow-motion footage the film airs of union leaders delivering speeches opposing change from traditional public schools.

Former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, whom Gov.-elect Rick Scott named Thursday to head his education transition team, is featured heavily in the film.

Rhee is an outspoken critic of teacher tenure and is portrayed in the film struggling with teacher-union resistence as she tries to shift pay structures and reward effective educators.

Legislation similar to the tenure-ending SB 6 approved by lawmakers last spring, but vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist, is already being passed around in draft form among lawmakers and education officials.

Speculation remains that Scott may seek to draft Rhee to become Florida’s next commissioner of education.

Scott is a fan of the film.

To read more, visit: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/06/1959199/legislators-to-watch-waiting-for.html

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