So now we’re not looking at a not-true-true movie in the vein of Lifetime movies, but a propaganda film pushing an anti-teacher-union message through a feel-good movie starring legitimate actresses. It takes an incredibly controversial issue and pushes their side so strongly (with such a crazy teacher that’s so pro-union and so horrible that she’s the Trunchbull of 2012) that you leave the theater hating unions.
But just a little research on these parent-trigger laws shows that it’s not a simple matter. In fact, as I looked up unbiased facts to include in this article, I found it almost impossible to find any quotes from someone who wasn’t taking a pro-union or anti-union side. Sure they all “care” about the kids, but I think they care about their agenda more.
One of the few facts I could find was that the Adelanto California’s Desert Trails Elementary School became the first school where parents successfully managed to enact the parent-trigger laws — and that was from an NPR article published on July 23rd, 2012, a little while after Won’t Back Down finished filming. Or so I’m guessing.
For the first time, U.S. parents have managed to get a school turned over to their control using the “parent trigger law.” The Desert Trails Elementary School in the Adelanto, Calif. School District has been underperforming for years. Parents, aided by the nonprofit group Parent Revolution, started a petition campaign and collected supportive signatures from more than half of the school’s legal guardians and on Friday, Superior Court Judge Steve Malone ruled that the District was obliged to turn the school over to parent control. It will now become a private charter school. The parents are now searching for a management company.
And that means that if this is the first successful case to come out of the parent-trigger laws, then we don’t really know if they work. So it seems a little misleading to present a film inspired by a true story that shows how successful these laws can be before we know that.
For all the fervor, there has yet to be a parent coup carried to completion. Critics, including teachers unions, administrators, and some parent groups warn that pulling the trigger is no guarantee of a better school. Some even call the law a stalking horse for big corporations set on privatizing education and weakening unions.
I’m not a teacher, nor am I in a union. I don’t know if these laws are good for schools, teachers and parents. But I do know that pushing your case before the evidence arrives certainly makes me second guess it. It also makes me hate a movie that manipulates my emotions for the sake of a political message.
I rarely cry in movies, so when I do, it better be for a true story inspired by actual events.