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The President's Sister Endorses 'Waiting for Superman'

4 years ago
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The director of "Waiting for Superman," Davis Guggenheim, has a way of making friends who happen to know their way around the White House. In his 2007 breakout documentary and Oscar winner, "An Inconvenient Truth" (starring former Vice President Al Gore), Guggenheim's excellent creative bloodlines were shown to great advantage as he essentially brought a Power Point presentation to life. (He is the son of four-time Academy Award winner Charles Guggenheim and is married to movie star and Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue).
His new film was released last month and despite harsh criticism of teachers unions and making a "villain" of American Federation Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who appears in the documentary, the film has gotten praise from parents and educators, positive reviews and unusually strong box office receipts (due to top $3 million) for a non-fiction film.
Now comes Maya Soetoro-Ng, who in addition to being a "lifelong educator" (she was a high school history teacher and university instructor in Hawaii), is also the baby half-sister of Barack Obama.
Wednesday, the Hawaii resident wrote an unsolicited e-mail to her friends and family, including education blogger Sam Chaltain, about "the opportunity provided by the film." The 40-year-old daughter of Obama's American mother and his Indonesian stepfather wrote though she was at one time "one of Randi's teachers myself in my first years of teaching in NYC" (and "was even the union rep") she nevertheless tactfully hopes "the film will help people to see the importance of graceful negotiation when trying to change a system and recognize the true power of persuasion." The e-mail calls for an increase in "the amount and caliber of dialogue between teachers, administrators, community members, and parents."
She signs off with a plea to "Go check out the film . . . but then let's keep talking. With mighty love, Maya."
Soetoro-Ng does not mention that her brother recently hosted Guggenheim and the five young student stars of the film at a White House photo opportunity or that Guggenheim directed the Obama biographical film at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Filed Under: Education, Woman Up

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