Roughly 600 Acadiana residents including area political leaders, educators and UL officials attended two screenings of the acclaimed 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman. The free screenings were the inaugural event in the 2011 Independent Weekly Lecture Series, sponsored by IberiaBank with support from Cox Business and Associated Travel. United Way of Acadiana helped coordinate the screenings and generated questions for a panel discussion that followed the first screening.

Written and directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and widely viewed as an indictment of public education in America, specifically due to the power of teacher unions, the film follows several public school children scattered around the country as their parents try to get them accepted — through a lottery — into a charter school.

Panelists at Wednesday night’s event were Lafayette Parish School Board member Hunter Beasely, retired teacher Melinda Mangham, attorney and former Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Chairman Gary McGoffin, The Picard Center’s Dr. Billy Stokes, and parent and Community Coalition volunteer Sarah Walker. The roughly half-hour discussion was moderated by Independent Managing Editor Walter Pierce.

A video of the panel discussion will be posted on by the end of this week.

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