Elsewhere online
October 02, 2012

Schools Advocates Rally Around 'Parent Power' Movie

Advocates who are pushing for laws to give parents more control over their children's schools are raising money and building campaigns around a Hollywood movie that dramatizes the issue, says Reuters.

Despite poor reviews for Won't Back Down, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a mother who takes on the teachers union to reform a failing public school, foundations and activist groups have spent more than $2-million on advocacy efforts tied to the film.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce and Parent Revolution, which promotes laws allowing parents groups to take over poorly performing schools, plan to host private screenings. Students First, the reform group led by former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, has purchased advertising time in theaters showing the movie.

The film is produced by Walden Media, which was also involved in the pro-charter-school documentary Waiting for "Superman." That film inspired a similar burst of activism when it was released in 2010.

The American Federation of Teachers is also holding meetings and workshops to counter what it says is the movie's misleading portrayal of teachers and the union.