Won't Watch Won't Back Down

I don't need four bad reviews in order to skip watching a movie, but in the case of the recently-released Won't Back Down, I would point to this, this, this and this as prime reasons to boycott this new piece of claptrap at the theater. Even the trailer is difficult to watch: The very first lines in it are classic demonization propaganda, saying "that school" and "those teachers" just "don't care about the children." I will make this post brief, considering that within a few days this movie will be totally out of the news. Suffice it to say, however, that I am SICK and TIRED of the teacher demonization and public school demonization that have become such a national obsession.

Under the Bush administration, education policy like "No Child Left Behind" was just stupid - in a bumbling, ignorant sort of way. (Others who weren't so young at the time might disagree with my impression.) Now under Obama, though, it seems like the public, the media, and politicians - both Republicans and Democrats - can't get enough of bashing teachers and teachers unions. It's as if the country suddenly woke up and discovered what was wrong with its schools - the teachers! They've been keeping our kids down all this time!

Now, if you want to know the real reason teachers are under fire, the answer is corporate profit. Countless corporate interests, ranging from testing and education technology companies to new for-profit schools and charter school brands have begun to really rake in the money. Profits go up when teachers are kept down - their salaries, their benefits, and their professional nature. Why not bring in untrained, underpaid, fresh-out-of-college Teach For America recruits, rather than build a highly-paid and well-educated professional workforce? Oh, and if any teachers voice opposition to all of this "reform," then they are obviously in it for themselves and have never done anything in the interests of the children.

Won't Back Down is a propaganda piece designed to promote parent trigger laws, which intend to "empower" parents by allowing them to shut down their own children's schools. How sick is that? And after you close your child's school, then you can have a charter instead, which could be nice, working outside the box with innovative teaching methods, or - just as likely - it could be a corporate sham. Why not improve schools in the most sensible way? - by supporting teachers, not demonizing them, and by parents getting involved in schools, not shutting them down. The U.S. education system's future depends on people - parents, teachers, and others - who can see through the bullshit, oppose the corporate agenda, and work child-by-child to promote learning. That's a stand I won't back down on.

(If you like, check out three other posts I wrote on education "reform" in the last several months: here, here and here.)

Cast of Won't Back Down. As Salon says, "Someone needs to
launch an investigation into what combination of crimes, dares,
alcoholic binges and lapses in judgment got Viola Davis and
Maggie Gyllenhaal into this movie." [image]