The Wednesday, Jan. 12 screening of the acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman — the first event in the 2010 Independent Weekly Lecture Series sponsored by IberiaBank — was hopefully the start of an ongoing community dialogue about public education in Acadiana. United Way of Acadiana, which helped facilitate the event at The Grand Theatre on Kaliste Saloom, will launch a series of Community Conversations next week to forward that dialogue.

Demand for tickets to the free screening was so great that Independent co-publisher Cherry Fisher May arranged a second screening that followed a panel discussion devoted to the film and its topic area. Panelists for the discussion on Jan. 12 were retired educator Melinda Mangham, UL education researcher Dr. Billy Stokes, parent and Community Coalition member Sarah Walker and Gary McGoffin, a Lafayette attorney and longtime public education advocate. The panel discussion was moderated by Independent Weekly Managing Editor Walter Pierce. (A video of the panel discussion can be viewed below.)

Written and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, Waiting for Superman takes a critical look at public education across the country by examining the power — often to the detriment of school systems and students — of teacher unions as well as innovations in public education via charter schools.

United Way will host three upcoming Community Conversations beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 at the South Regional Library and commencing at the same time on consecutive Mondays at the North Regional Library in Carencro (Jan. 31) and again at the South Regional Library (Feb. 7). Participants in these conversations are individuals who attended the Jan. 12 Waiting for Superman screening.

The 37-minute panel discussion video below can also be viewed at Hubcideo.


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