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'Won't Back Down': A film to spur parent-led coups on public schools? (+video)

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Owned by Christian conservative Philip Anschutz, Walden Media also backed the 2010 documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which portrayed teachers unions as a main obstacle to improving education.

“Won’t Back Down” goes “beyond bashing the teachers and unions.... It literally assaults the entire profession,” says Rita Solnet, an activist in Boca Raton, Fla., who has fought a parent-trigger law there and who helped found the national network Parents Across America, which opposes the expansion of high-stakes testing and charter schools. “I worry that this is going to begin to pit parents against teachers and principals,” she says.

Some others see the film portraying teachers in a positive light.

In the film, parents and teachers together petition for changes. “In a traditional school, it would be difficult to get 50 percent of teachers to sign on ..., but that device allows the director to bring teachers to the center of reform,” says Andrew Kelly, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, who has studied parent organizing. “In that respect [this film is] different from ‘Waiting for Superman.’... Teachers are some of the heroes.”

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