“Won’t Back Down” is the upcoming theatrical movie made by the producers who brought us “Waiting For Superman.” It’s about a fictitious version of the parent trigger idea (see The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.
Here are my choices for the best posts and articles about it:
FAQ on the Controversial Film Won’t Back Down: What Parents Need to Know is by Leonie Haimson at the Huffington Post.
Walmart is sponsoring a concert to “salute teachers” and benefit Teach For America, where they’ll also show scenes from the film. Here’s the trailer:
There is an excellent In These Times article about the controversy, Walmart, Right-Wing Media Company Hold Star-Studded Benefit Promoting Education Reform Film.
My Center For Teaching Quality colleague Jose Luis Vilson is the star of that article, including quotes like this:
“It’s another Waiting for Superman,” says Jose Vilson, a New York City math teacher and board member of the Center for Teacher Quality. “You have these popular actors, who as well-intentioned as they may be, they may not know all the facts, but they’re willing to back up a couple of corporate friends or people maybe they’ve become familiar with” in “trying to promote this sort of vision.”
And this one, where Viola Davis doesn’t shine (though, admittedly, she may have said much more that wasn’t quoted by the reporter:
Vilson says he was particularly disappointed by Viola Davis’ participation, given The Help star’s past comments about wanting to elevate the voices of often-ignored domestic workers.
“You should also see the alignment between that and what’s going on with teachers,” says Vilson, “and the bad tone that’s being sent throughout the country.”
“I’m sorry,” Davis told the New York Times, “I just know if you don’t have a strong advocate for a child, they’re not going to make it.”
It was particularly disappointing to learn from the article that CBS is planning on airing a special on Walmart’s event….
“Parent Trigger And Why We Need To Talk [Let's Be A Solution] is a great post by Jose Luis Vilson that’s a follow-up to the article.
Check out a review by someone who has seen it, Rita Solnet, which appeared in The Washington Post.
I also wrote a commentary on the film in reaction to a New York Times column about it.
Education Week also published a very thoughtful review.
American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten has just published a critique of the new “Won’t Back Down” movie, ‘Won’t Back Down’ union stereotypes worse than ‘Waiting for Superman.’
Here’s an excerpt:
I don’t recognize the teachers portrayed in this movie, and I don’t recognize that union. The teachers I know are women and men who have devoted their lives to helping children learn and grow and reach their full potential. These women and men come in early, stay late to mentor and tutor students, coach sports teams, advise the student council, work through lunch breaks, purchase school supplies using money from their own pockets, and spend their evenings planning lessons, grading papers and talking to parents. Yet their efforts, and the care with which they approach their work, are nowhere to be seen in this film.
“Won’t Back Down” Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal is a very thorough article from The Center For Media and Democracy bout the film and the policy.
‘Won’t Back Down’: Film critics pan parent-trigger movie — update is from Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.
Reaction to “Won’t Back Down” Shows Critics Have Learned Something is by Anthony Cody at Education Week Teacher.
‘Won’t Back Down’ gets a D+ for a public school polemic is from The Chicago Tribune.
Bad Lessons From ‘Won’t Back Down’ is by Dana Goldstein.
A Political Football in the Classroom: ‘Won’t Back Down,’ With Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis is by The New York Times.
Director of “Won’t Back Down” Tries to Explain, but Questions Remain is by Anthony Cody at Education Week.
Hollywood propaganda is from The Washington Post.
Diane Ravitch reports that “Won’t Back Down,” the parent trigger-pushing film, is now officially a box office flop. Read the details at “Won’t Back Down” Continues to Plummet.
Public education’s new quick fix is a good piece at Salon about the parent trigger and the recent “Won’t Back Down” film.
Here’s how it ends:
The quest for easy fixes is seductive. But the more we look for Hollywood-style magic bullets, the less we focus on what makes public schools work.
“Won’t Back Down” revived as centerpiece of corporate lobbying campaign is the headline of a Washington Monthly article. Here’s how it begins:
The cringe-inducing anti-teachers’ unions movie may have had the backing of wealthy corporate education reformers, but the magnates couldn’t seem to use their entrepreneurial spirit to cobble together a decent flick. The astroturfers dream, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, completely flopped at the box office when it was released last fall. In fact, if movie-goers’ taste is the sole metric, “Won’t Back Down” was the worst major film in the history of cinema. The Huffington Post reported that the $2.6 million it took in on its debut weekend set “the record for worst opening of a film that released in over 2,500 theaters.”
If the billionaire backers of this film — Philip Anschutz, through Walden Media, and Rupert Murdoch through 20th Century Fox — held their production to the same standards that they want to impose on public schools, every last copy of “Won’t Back Down” would be sealed in a series of wet cement laden oil drums and eventually heaved into Lake Superior. Yet they won’t let it die. They just (sorry) won’t back down. According to the AP, they’ve stripped the movie of its flimsy pseudo-artistic pretensions, and have placed it at the center a new lobbying effort.
USA Today has a similar article.
Feedback is welcome.
You might also be interested in all my “The Best…” lists related to parent engagement.