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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Tue Aug 28th 2012, 11:19 PM
This movie will actually be shown during the DNC convention. Michelle Rhee's group Students First is sponsoring it. Rhee will also be interviewed at the DNC by Chelsea Clinton. That seems to confirm that her credibility with Democrats is much more than that of ordinary teachers.

In fact our first clue that this was really not that much about public education at all was the fact that proceeds will be going to Teach for America which gets paid to put recruits with 5 weeks training in public schools.

The benefit concert will showcase live performances by Dierks Bentley, Fun. and Josh Groban and special appearances by Viola Davis from "Won't Back Down," Josh Hutcherson, Miranda Cosgrove, Pauley Perrette, Roshon Fegan and many more. Proceeds from TEACHERS ROCK will benefit three non-profit organizations:, Feeding America and Teach for America.

Not a word about public education.

When Mama Ain't Happy: Screening 'Won't Back Down'

There are parent-trigger laws. There are teachers. There is a real place named Pittsburgh. But "Won't Back Down" is inspired by a true story in the same sense that "Gladiator" was inspired by the true story of Rome existing.

The two parents who start the petition, Jamie (the literally unblinking Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Nona (Viola Davis, who corners the market on reluctant heroes), want better lives for their respective children. Failing to win the charter school lottery, the pair unite when Jamie convinces Nona that a petition is the only option left. The movie maintains the focus that this action is entirely parent-driven, devoid of any outside influence.

Now whenever I see Maggie Gyllenhaal I will automatically focus on her eyes to see if they blink.

More about the absurdity of the premise that parents are all good and teachers bad, about the ability of parents to simply take over and run a school. It's all so complex, and this movie appears to simplify it by blaming the teachers for everything.

..The teacher for Jamie's adorable daughter, Malia, is the model of a bad educator, more interested in her cellphone than her students' welfare. The rest of the staff, however, is not just competent, but practically "Dead Poet's Society" stellar. When Nona tells the faculty that this turnaround can make everyone "the teachers you've always wanted to be," another teacher wryly responds, "What if I already am?"

Indeed, "Won't Back Down" plays on the fragility and complexity of schools, of systems that work only when administrators, teachers, unions, parents, students, God, and luck align. A conversion will upset that balance and could cost excellent teachers their jobs, but, the movie asks, couldn't the new balance be better?

Rita Solnet from Florida recently was quoted in the Washington Post about this movie's simplistic tone.

‘Won’t Back Down’: Realities the movie ignores

Unfortunately, this film depicts a story that is more about good vs. evil than about the truth behind public schools today and the movement to privatize them. Portraying a complex public education system as irretrievably broken — and blaming abusive, older teachers and their rabidly protective unions is much easier than illustrating the complicated truth, I suppose.

..."You never heard why the school was labeled "failing" or what the criteria was for receiving a “failing” grade. Instead you heard teachers in their unusually large break room complain about other teachers who had "the highest salary with the lowest performance.” You heard comments like, "We don't coach teachers here; we protect teachers.”

The article expresses what is the main concern about such a propaganda movie.

Will this movie launch open season by shrewd for-profit charter operators — including some with abysmal academic records — to stir a commotion and skip directly to the takeover step?

Disgruntled parents and guardians will see this film that is supposedly "Inspired by True Events” (but those events are never mentioned or referenced) and think it's appropriate to storm the school board to demand a school takeover.

I can not imagine my anger if I happen to tune in during the DNC convention and run across that interview by Chelsea Clinton of Michelle Rhee. It shows the party's preoccupation with turning education over to the "reformers" who think first of profit. In my mind Michelle Rhee is a symbol of that "reform".

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