Waiting for Superman is a documentary that offers a glimpse into the lives of five children and their families as they struggle to obtain the best educational opportunity in today's school systems. It is the possible futures of Emily, Bianca, Anthony, Daisy and Francisco that are put into question as documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim investigates the statistics and laws that make their way into the classrooms to determine the quality of education they receive.
Through interviews of students, parents, teachers and administrators the cracks and flaws in the system are revealed. Cracks and flaws that are statistically shown to be more of flood gates of children either being left behind or simply being denied opportunities. The failure of our nation's schools in competition with other countries is only the start in this deep examination of how our educational system has floundered. From reading proficiencies to the percentage of children failing to graduate, the numbers are there for everyone to see. The value of a proficient teacher versus the damage of a poor teacher is also observed in its impact on these numbers. But there are glimmers of improvements highlighted as well with the examination of charter schools and the efforts of reformers in their attempts to improve education.
Through the eyes of the parents of the these five children a struggle is revealed in their desire to provide their children with a better future than what they had for themselves. In an effort to provide that desired education for their child, each parent applies their student into a charter school that statistically offers a better chance for success. However, due to the abundance of applications received versus the number of spaces available, they hold a lottery to determine who can attend. The hopes of each parent and child hinders on the random luck of the draw in this examination of the state of learning in the United States and their battle with the system as it currently stands.