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Jeff Bernstein

Parent Trigger: No Silver Bullet - 0 views

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    "This brief reviews the history and current status of Parent Trigger legislation, presents a critique of the legislation, and suggests alternative ways to meet the stated goals of a Parent Trigger."
Jeff Bernstein

Jersey Jazzman: Whitty Nails "Won't Back Down" - 0 views

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    "Stephen Whitty of the Star-Ledger has Won't Back Down all figured out"
Jeff Bernstein

Leonie Haimson: Parents Want Options Beyond a "Trigger" - SchoolBook - 0 views

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    "The reality is that most parents do not want to close their schools or convert them into charters to be run by private corporations, where they may have even less voice and students fewer rights.

    They do not want the teachers' union to be destroyed, as it is the only organized, well-financed group acting to keep class sizes from mushrooming out of control and school budgets from further cuts."
Jeff Bernstein

Julie Cavanagh: The Truth Behind Won't Back Down - 0 views

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    "This week a film partially funded by Walden Media, which is owned by entrepreneur and conservative Philip Anschutz, will be released in theaters. The film, Won't Back Down, is a work of fiction but claims to be based on real life events and tells the story of a teacher and a parent in a 'failing' school who join forces to 'save their school.' Walden Media also funded Waiting for Superman, which was billed as a documentary on education and chronicled the stories of several families navigating the educational landscape intermixed with commentary from journalists, economists, philanthropists, and business folks who surmised the troubles of public education today. These two films differ in style, but their substance is aligned and their conclusion is the same: teacher unions are the obstacle to student achievement."
Jeff Bernstein

Leonie Haimson: Don't be fooled by "Won't Back Down"! - 0 views

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    "Last night I attended a screening of the controversial new film, "Won't Back Down" about a parent and a teacher who take over their "failing" public school.  I have written a FAQ about the movie which is posted here.  The film was produced by Walden Media, owned by right-wing billionaire Phillip Anschutz, who also co-produced "Waiting for 'Superman.'" 
    Advance screenings have been held around the country, organized by Michelle Rhee's Students First and other pro-charter lobbying organizations, to promote the "Parent Trigger," which allows a school to be turned over to a charter operator if 51% of the parents sign a petition calling for this. Here is a good analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy.  
    The movie itself is badly written, poorly acted, and full of exaggerated characterizations and unconvincing plot twists. Its message, transmitted with sledgehammer subtlety, is that the only reason that schools in poor communities are failing is because of incompetent lazy teachers who are protected by the union. "
Jeff Bernstein

Won't Back Down Movie Review: My (ex) PTA President's Point of View « Beccarama - 0 views

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    "This week I went to a screening of Won't Back Down starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  The movie is about a mom and a teacher who band together and use the Parent Trigger law (which is never mentioned by name) to take over and turnaround a failing elementary school in Pittsburgh.  The film is loosely based on real events (though in my research I couldn't find anything other than the Los Angeles based parent trigger law, which was backed by a big charter school organization), and produced by the same man who produced Waiting for Superman. As someone who has been deeply embroiled in the discussion and reality of parents advocating for better schools, for student and parent rights, and as a PA C0-President who has worked closely with many teachers and administrators, this movie got to me on many levels. So, I have decided to break it down in two parts: As a movie and then as a propaganda film."
Jeff Bernstein

Gary Rubinstein reviews 'Won't Back Down' (spoiler alert) - 0 views

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    "As the lights dimmed and the opening credits rolled during my preview of 'Won't Back Down,' I got a little nervous.  Based on some of the commercials I had seen, I thought there was a chance that it was going to be a good 'film.'  I do think that a good film could be made about any subject, even one I might not agree with its underlying premise."
Jeff Bernstein

Sabrina Stevens: Why 'Won't Back Down' Just Doesn't Stack Up | Alternet - 0 views

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    "As a former union teacher and present union staff member, what struck me most profoundly while watching Won't Back Down was the stark disconnect between the way people and schools were characterized in the film and the way they are in the real world. That isn't surprising given that it's a Hollywood film, but it is harmful -- precisely because these kinds of stereotypes often fuel destructive and unnecessary divisions and tensions among parents, teachers and students in real life. Those divisions often stop people from working together to find effective, win-win solutions to problems that affect all of us."
Jeff Bernstein

Walmart, Right-Wing Media Company Hold Star-Studded Benefit Promoting Education Reform ... - 0 views

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    "The world's largest private-sector employer and the country's most prominent conservative entertainment company have teamed up to sponsor a fundraiser called "Teachers Rock." Backed by Walmart and Anschutz Film Group, the August 14 event will feature live performances from musicians like Josh Groban and appearances from actresses like Viola Davis; it will be broadcast August 17 as a CBS special with messages from actresses like Meryl Streep. And it will promote the upcoming feature film Won't Back Down, Anschutz's entry in the "education reform" wars.

    Won't Back Down is reportedly a highly sympathetic fictional portrayal of "parent trigger" laws, a major flashpoint in debates over education and collective bargaining. Under such laws, the submission of signatures from a majority of parents in a school triggers a "turnaround option," which can mean the replacement of a unionized school with a non-union charter. Such laws have been passed in several states, but due to court challenges, the "trigger" process has never been fully implemented."
Jeff Bernstein

Randi Weingarten Responds to Parent Trigger Film « Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "One can't help but be moved by the characters and story portrayed in Walden Media's film "Won't Back Down." The film is successful in driving home the sense of urgency parents and educators feel to do everything they can to provide the best possible education for their children. That is abundantly evident in this film-it's what I hear as I visit schools across the country, and it's what I heard when I sat down with parent and community groups from across the country last week.

    We share that pain and frustration. And we firmly believe that every public school should be a school where every parent would want to send his or her child and where every teacher would want to teach. Unfortunately, using the most blatant stereotypes and caricatures I have ever seen-even worse than those in "Waiting for 'Superman'"-the film affixes blame on the wrong culprit: America's teachers unions."
Jeff Bernstein

'Won't Back Down': Realities the movie ignores - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "Though the film "Won't Back Down," starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is not being released in theaters until the end of September, its backers are already drumming up support for it and its subject: the controversial "parent trigger" laws that have passed in a few states and are being considered by many others."
Jeff Bernstein

10 most inaccurate school reform axioms - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "Below Dov Rosenberg lists what he considers the 10 most inaccurate and damaging statements that some school reformers toss around. Rosenberg, who loves to help teachers use technology, has been serving North Carolina public school students and teachers for 11 years as a teacher and instructional technology facilitator."
Jeff Bernstein

A strange 'parent trigger' court ruling - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    This is all happening just before the release of a major movie called "Won't Back Down," a pro-parent trigger film with Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter that was produced by Walden Media, a company owned by uber-conservative entrepreneur Philip Anschutz. Walden helped distribute "Waiting for Superman," a tendentious documentary that mischaracterized charter schools as a systemic answer to public education's problems and hailed Michelle Rhee as a reform hero. You don't have to guess about the message of "Won't Back Down" - watch this trailer.
Jeff Bernstein

Judge: Parents can't rescind "parent trigger" signatures « Parents Across Ame... - 0 views

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    The parent trigger, an idea presented by the voices of corporate education "reform" as parent empowerment, won a round in court this week. Ironically, the court came down firmly in favor of disempowering parents, as the parent trigger's sponsors had requested.

    The ruling by a California Superior Court judge decreed that parents who have signed a parent trigger petition do not have the right to change their minds and may not rescind their signatures. The ruling cast the future of the targeted school, Desert Trails in Adelanto, in Southern California's high desert, into confusion. Charter operators will now be invited to bid for the school, even though Desert Trails parents on both sides of the controversy say they don't want the school to become a charter - disempowering them even further.
Jeff Bernstein

Schools Matter: Democrats for Neoliberal Education Reform's Gloria J. Romero's Parent T... - 0 views

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    As the DFER veneer for right-wing "parent trigger" laws wears off, and more and more people see the privatization agenda for what it is, charlatans like Gloria Romero and Ben Austin have been scrambling to hide or minimize their ties to right wing extremists. The good news is that it isn't working, and that aside from shills like Andi Rotherham and Alex Russo even mainstream media journalists are starting to see through what the distinguished Professor Diane Ravitch refers to as the "Parent Tricker." Josh Eidelson's "Parent trigger": The latest tactic for fighting teachers' unions is a good example.
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » When Push Comes To Pull In The Parent Trigger Debate - 0 views

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    In the case of the trigger, all the heated rhetoric about the merits of the trigger mechanism seems to be ignoring a critical issue: Whether replacing regular public schools with charters will produce better outcomes for its (current and future) students. This is, to say the least, an open question, especially in the case of conversion schools, and it's in many respects at the heart of the matter. Yet it often gets lost in the trigger controversy (and, I would argue, in the debate about charters schools in general, but that's a different issue).

    Conversely, and more importantly, whether or not current parents should be allowed, by majority vote, to fundamentally alter a public school is a very serious question, one that would seem to carry implications for public policy, both in education and maybe even in other areas as well.
Jeff Bernstein

How To Stop the War on Public Eduation | National Opportunity to Learn Campaign | Educa... - 0 views

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    Put three rockstars of the education world in a room together and you get this fantastic panel from last week's Netroots Nation on the future of public education, the importance of community organizing and the path towards systemic education reform to provide every child with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. 

    The panelists were education historian Diane Ravicth, John H. Jackson, President & CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, and Ken Bernstein, a long-time teacher and education advocate. All three had harsh words for policymakers pedaling ineffective or untested policies as viable reform strategies. "We don't have an innovation challenge, we have an implementation challenge," Jackson said. We know what policies work. Countless studies have shown the importance of early childhood education, access to healthcare and guidance counselors, and support for teachers. But the practical, systemic solutions that come out of that body of research are ignored in favor of a political agenda that seeks to privatize and dismantle a public institution that is vital to our nation's economy and democratic well-being.
Jeff Bernstein

Diane Ravitch: So This Is Reform? - Bridging Differences - Education Week - 0 views

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    A few weeks ago, the state legislature in Louisiana passed Gov. Bobby Jindal's education reform bill. Louisiana now goes to the head of the class as the state with the most advanced reform package in the nation. Surely, the Obama administration must be pleased, along with the governors of New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Unfortunately, "reform" today has become a synonym for dismantling public education and demoralizing teachers. In that sense, Bobby Jindal and his Teach For America/Broad-trained state Commissioner of Education John White are now the leaders of the reform movement.

    The key elements of Louisiana's reform are: a far-reaching voucher program, for which a majority of students in the state are eligible; a dramatic expansion of charter schools, with the establishment of multiple new chartering authorities; a parent trigger, enabling parents in low-performing public schools to turn their schools into private charters; and a removal of teacher tenure.
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