My wife and I went to see the newly released movie, ‘Won’t Back Down,’ starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. The film centered on the ParentTrigger Law which was passed in California and other states in 2010. The law allows parents to enforce administrative overhaul and overrule administrators in under-performing public schools if petitioned. If successful, petitions allow parents to direct changes which could lead to dismissal of staff and the potential conversion of a school to a charter school.
Keeping in mind that Hollywood does have a tendency to glamorize most issues, I found the film to be slightly watered down in regards to the children. They were used as accessories to the story. The entire film centered on the fight between two strong willed women and a stubborn self-serving union man along with his trusty sidekick, a burned out woman who was torn between being right and doing the right thing.
The film showed teachers caring more about their seniority and benefits than caring about educating the children. It showed the teachers union as a bunch of jerks with the leader of the union stating kids weren’t important because they didn’t pay union dues. One of the slimiest moments of the film was when the character played by Holly Hunter attempted to bribe one of the mothers.
Overall I believe this is a movie worth seeing so that the focus on quality….no make that….superior education remains as one of the foremost benefits we can provide our children.
Sometimes I wonder if the struggles of the past have been completely forgotten. Does anyone remember Brown vs. Boardof Education? How about James Meredith? In North America—the land of the brave and free, there are adults that simply can’t read. When an adult can’t read, is it lost on folks that they couldn’t do so as a child?
Education is not a game played for victory by school unions, teachers or well meaning parents as the movie depicted. It is about the children! And they certainly deserve better than they are getting from a lackluster school system or ridiculous measures that moves a child along because they were taught to the test (No child left behind Act).
Won’t back down should be a mantra cited by every one of us and we should add to that, ‘won’t turn our backs on our children.’ When kids must go through a metal detector to enter schools and are not able to enter a school library due to cutbacks there is indeed a serious problem. How can kids have a future if adults are taking away their present? For our kids sake…don’t back down!