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Government School PR Group Hammers “Won’t Back Down” Movie

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
The educational establishment is ramping up its attack of “Won’t Back Down,” a fictional movie of a parent and teacher teaming up to take over a failing school through a “parent trigger” law.

The movie will be released nationally on Sept. 28.

The National School Public Relations Association is now working with the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers in issuing talking points to members about how to best dismiss the point of the movie without actually looking like they’re attacking it.

“We urge you to consider applauding the passion and activism of parents in the movie. You know that your schools and your students will be far better off if this enthusiasm is focused in a collaborative fashion on the local needs of your students and community,” the group wrote.

Translation: It would be stupid to attack the sympathetic characters in the movie, just like it would be dumb to boo Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. But your applause - or approval - should not be directed at the false characterization of the teachers union as the evil force in the movie, or the idea that parents can somehow do a better job than professionals when it comes to educating children.

More from NSPRA:

“Consider these additional points generated by NSPRA and other major education organizations working together through the Learning First Alliance (LFA):

“Fictionalized accounts that pit parents against school employees may make an interesting story line and generate ticket sales, but they don’t reflect on-the-ground reality. In districts throughout the nation, educators and parents are working together closely to improve public education, and find sustainable solutions that put children at the center of reform. Do you have parent leaders who would be willing to talk about the difference between their experience working with your school and those of the movie’s parents?

“Educators and parents are on the same team — we’re all accountable for student success and need to be a united front.

“Parents in other communities have tried the parent trigger, and it seemed to have misfired for various reasons. That’s because there is no silver bullet solution to fixing our schools. We can’t afford to risk our children’s future—we need to work together to find sustainable solutions that work now and in the future.

“Instead of silver bullets, we need sustainable solutions. It’s time to make smart investments: small classes, early childhood education, up-to-date textbooks and computers, etc.

“It may be enlightening to ask your media to “follow the money” when it comes to the funding for this movie. Walden Media, the same company that produced Waiting for Superman, funded the movie. Walden Media is owned by oil billionaire Philip Anschutz. Anschutz funds organizations that promote parent trigger laws, allowing more public schools to be turned over to alternative providers.”

What a bunch of self-serving elitist garbage.

No one has suggested the “parent trigger” is a silver bullet. It’s one tool parents can use in a few states to gain the leverage they need to force improvement in miserable schools. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s also a handy tool to help get the attention of schools boards that are not listening to parents.

Parent Trigger efforts have never “misfired.” They have failed to be implemented (so far) in two communities in California because local teachers unions and school boards have done everything possible to block the process proscribed by law. The efforts haven’t had a chance to succeed due to interference from the education establishment. There has been no opportunity to measure the effectiveness of parent trigger laws and the defenders of the status quo want to keep it that way. It’s obvious that the education establishment fears this fictional movie because it tells a great deal of truth. The last thing union leaders and school administrators want is thousands of parents across the nation asking questions about the quality of their children’s schools and demanding necessary changes.

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