Entertainment behind the scenes
Worry about the U.S. public education system has brought billionaire Bill Gates into the movie business, with a cameo role in a documentary looking at the “full-on crisis” of undereducated kids, in a school system that’s failing to meet their needs, and a tough message to business leaders:
Education matters, and good students will strengthen American business and improve its competitive position.
Gates is one of the experts who appears in “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that focuses on staggering signs that American children are falling way behind their counterparts in other countries, even as school spending increases.
Director Davis Guggenheim, who also directed Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” tells the story through everyday students, as well as key reformers and stakeholders in education.
“We are in full-on crisis mode,” producer Lesley Chilcott told a press conference which Gates also attended.
Gates said Microsoft is finding it increasingly difficult to find home-grown science and engineering students, and many science students did not come through the public school system.
“If you look at a computer science department in the top schools the majority are not U.S.-born,” he said. “That just says something about our education system.”
Director Davis Guggenheim (R) and Bill Gates attend a news conference to promote the film “Waiting For Superman” during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill