Won’t Back Down is a Hollywood movie to be released next month that tells the story of people who take advantage of a parent trigger law to reform their neighborhood school. Since the film apparently depicts the fictional teachers’ union as a staunch defender of the status quo (gasp!), the real-life teachers’ union is up in arms.
The National Education Association has been campaigning against the film since last May, when it published a piece about it in NEA Today:
For Hollywood and pro-charter school activists, the actual true stories across the country about union collaboration and partnership with parents and communities don’t make for compelling storytelling. Clearly defined lines between the good guys and bad guys are always better – even if it leads to misinformation and charter school propaganda.
Now NEA plans to ramp up its message, denouncing parent trigger laws as a distraction, and promoting “union-led parent/teacher collaboration.” Union-led, eh?
The union is notoriously thin-skinned about movies. I remember NEA president Bob Chase was awfully worked up in 1999 about the now-forgotten Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Bashing Hollywood for undermining American institutions used to be the hallmark of the Right, but now it seems Hollywood is part of the Vast Corporate Conspiracy - well, except for Matt Damon, I suppose.
I doubt there has ever been a film made about public schools that wasn’t filled with one set of clichés or another. That’s why I avoid them like the plague, unless they ramp up those cinematic conventions to the nth level, like in 1996′s The Substitute (language warning):