The following excerpt is from a film review of “Won’t Back Down”. The film was funded by the private for-profit education industry which is planning a nationwide push to privatize public schools.
Now, (deep breath), here are some things that are not
good about this film:
The plucky band of misfits inflict their positive change
by invoking the “Parent Trigger Law,” which allows
parents to take over failing public schools and turn
them into charter schools. They essentially bust up the
teachers union and corporatize a public institution. The
film hits you in the face (and slaps you on the back of
the head and punches you in the gut and kicks you in the
ass really, really hard with a boot) with vehement anti-
public school propaganda.
As a public school advocate and self-avowed annoying PTA
lady, I had to pause several times during the film to
pick my jaw up off the ground in disbelief. I saw this
film the evening before helping to launch a major
fundraising campaign at my children’s PUBLIC school. I
saw this film after spending a day emailing and tweeting
around with other PUBLIC school volunteers about ways to
get California parents to vote in favor of PUBLIC
education this November.
I saw this film with an open mind and what I saw shocked
The political agenda of Won’t Back Down is as naked and
laid-out as Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary: Public
schools are terrible. The only way to make them better
is to take them over and turn them into charter schools.
Oh and teachers unions are evil, greedy, spawn-of-
Voldemort’s-demon-seed bastards. The end.
I watched scene after scene of tacky, cheating, cruel,
lying, selfish teachers in the union. I watched a rally
where the pro-charter school advocates wore green
(representing growth and hope in case you went to public
school and don’t get symbolism) and the pro-public
school advocates wore red (the color of blood and Satan,
I watched the school go from drab to fab, as grey and
brown clothing and classrooms magically transformed into
double-rainbows drenched in sunshine and Skittles. This
was only after the poor children were released from the
throat-crushing death grip of the Darth Vader teachers
My children’s PUBLIC school (which is awesome by the
way) was on the district closure list a few years ago.
And what did the parents do? Did they try to take over
the school and turn it into a charter school and force
out all the teachers who stayed with the union? No,
They wrote a grant and built a new playground. They
created a tutoring program. They started creative and
aggressive fundraising programs like DogFest to help
bridge the gap between public school funding and unmet
public school needs. They volunteered in classrooms and
on the playground and in the lunchroom. They went to PTA
meetings and School Site Council meetings. They started
a parent Coffee Klatch to create community. They were a
plucky band of misfits, by golly!
Some even went as far as forming legislative advocacy
organizations to make a difference in the lives of
children at the state and national level.
* * *
I’m not anti-charter school. I’m not anti-private
school. I’m not anti-anything. But this movie distilled
a complicated issue into simplistic, manipulative
platitudes to the point that the conspiracy theorist in
me wondered who the hell bankrolled the entire thing.
So….a friend of mine helped me do a little research and
we came up with some nifty insights. Such as the fact
that this film is funded by Walden Media, which is owned
by Philip Anschutz, a right wing leader whose
foundation has campaigned against such things as same-
sex marriage and single parents. He is also part of the
conservative movement that promotes school “choice” and
privatization and corporatization of public schools.
This film is also produced by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News
Ah hah! The plucky band of misfits has quite the
SOURCE: I Am A Public School Parent and I Won’t Back Down (Sorry
Maggie!) By Robin Dutton-Cookston
September 12, 2012