Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Davis Guggenheim

Highs: Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim received praise from both sides of the political aisle for his documentary on the troubled state of education in America, Waiting for Superman, which chronicles five students vying for a spot in high-performing charter schools over public schools. Guggenheim's film was a critical and box office success and led the conversation about the costs and benefits of charter versus public, the role of teachers' unions and the future of education in the United States.

Lows: Some critics accused Guggenheim of being too anti-teachers' unions and cozy with charters, pointing out that the schools do not necessarily perform better than public education across the board. The kind of reform Guggenheim advocates was dealt a rather heavy blow in October when Michelle Rhee, the Washington D.C. public schools chancellor and a main proponent of reform in Guggenheim's documentary, resigned after her political patron, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, lost his bid for reelection, in part because of fierce opposition from teachers' unions upset about Rhee's changes.

Josh Sanburn