After months of pre-release publicity, including a televised, ironically titled “Teachers Rock” concert in Los Angeles, the pro-parent trigger movie “Won’t Back Down,” starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter, opens tonight. The film has received predominately poor reviews, with one critic saying, “‘Won’t Back Down’ is to school reform what ‘Reefer Madness’ is to drug policy.”
The film, produced by the same people who backed “Waiting for Superman,” tells the story of a mother and a teacher who join forces over union objections and use a parent trigger law to take control of a failing school.
Although the film claims to be “inspired by actual events,” CTA and especially our members in parent trigger targets Compton and Adelanto know that this is a work of pure fiction. It does not show the chaos, division, and educational disruption created by the parent trigger law when outsiders with a national political agenda invade a community and begin their one-sided signature-gathering campaign.
To further boost the film’s visibility, Michelle Rhee’s Students First and the Chamber of Commerce have announced a “Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity” tour, featuring the film and panel discussions.
WHERE WE STAND
Fictionalized accounts of public schools that pit parents against school employees may make an interesting story line and generate dollars at the box office, but the dramatic story lines don’t reflect the on-the-ground reality. In school districts throughout California, educators and parents are working together closely to improve public education and find sustainable solutions that put children at the center of reform. In Compton and Adelanto, the first two places in the country where the trigger has been attempted, our local associations have been deeply involved, working with parents on reform efforts district-wide and at the targeted schools.