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Film Screening & Panel Talk: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, with Members of the Grassroots Education Movement & Real Reform Studios

The Grassroots Education Movement was founded in early 2009 to broaden the battle for public education to include parents and students, in addition to educators. In the fall of 2010 a GEM committee called Real Reform Studios decided to create a response to Waiting for Superman. The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman was premiered in front of 650 people at Riverside Church in May 2011 with Diane Ravitch as the keynote speaker. Together with Waiting for Superman, it was most recently shown in the Gottesman Libraries.

Now for encore screening and with deeper analysis of the ten major reforms set forth in the documentary, we are joined by members of the GrassRoots Education Movement to explore in greater detail:

  • small class sizes

  • excellent community schools for all children

  • more teaching-- less testing

  • parent and teacher empowerment and leadership

  • equitable funding for all schools

  • anti-racist education policies

  • culturally relevant curriculum

  • expand pre-K and early intervention programs

  • qualified and experienced educators and educational leaders

  • democratic and social justice unionism

Norm Scott, one of the founding members of GEM, worked in the NYC school system from 1967 to 2002, spending 30 of those years teaching elementary school in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He retired in July 2002. He has been active in education reform and in the UFT, working with a variety of groups. In 1996 he began publishing Education Notes, a monthly newsletter for teachers attending the UFT Delegate Assembly, expanding into a tabloid distributed citywide for two years in 2002 and into a blog, Ed Notes Online, in August 2006. In 2003 he was one of the founders of the Independent Community of Educators, a caucus within the UFT that raised issues related to the union's seeming unwillingness to oppose the education corporate-based reforms that were undermining the public school system.

Leonie Haimson is the Executive Director of Class Size Matters, a non-profit advocacy group working for smaller class sizes in NYC and the nation as a whole. She is also a co-founder of Parents Across America, a grassroots parent group that believes that the current focus on privatization and high stakes testing is undermining our public schools, and that we should be focusing our efforts instead on reducing class size, providing equitable funding, increasing parental involvement in decision-making, and offering a well-rounded curriculum. She regularly speaks before parent, advocacy, and governmental groups, and writes for several blogs, including NYC Public School Parents and Huffington Post. Her opinion pieces have been published in Education Week, The New York Times, The Daily News, InsideSchools, Gotham Gazette and elsewhere. She has been named as one of NYC’s family heroes by NYC Family Magazine, and is the 3rd most influential education policy tweeter in the country, according to the journal Education Next.

Julie Cavanagh is a special education teacher in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Julie received her BS in special education from Indiana University and her MS in curriculum and teaching from Fordham University, and her advanced degree in administration and supervision from Brooklyn College. Julie is a founding member of Concerned Advocates for Public Education, a community-based parent and teacher organization. She is also a member of Grassroots Education Movement; advocating around issues dealing with the equality and quality of public educational services as well as the rights of teachers and school workers.

Darren Marelli is a twelve-year New York City public school social worker, working in Harlem. A member of the Grassroots Education Movement, Darren Marelli is part of the team that directed, filmed, and edited the film.

This event is sponsored by the Gottesman Libraries and Kappa Delta Pi, the Teachers College Honors Society.

Persons wishing to attend may rsvp by Thursday, November 3rd.

Where: 306 Russell
Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY,



  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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