Putting Education Reform To The Test

Parent Trigger Now Playing In The Legislature, Coming Soon To Theaters

Kerry Hayes / 20th Century Fox

Viola Davis, left, is a teacher and Maggie Gyllenhaal is a parent in a fictionalized movie about school restructuring.

The parent trigger will be the next education issue to receive the Hollywood treatment later this year.

The New York Times reports producers are planning a September release for “Won’t Back Down,” a fictional dramatization of a campaign to restructure a low-performing Pennsylvania school. The movie follows on the success of charter school documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

The movie stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a frustrated parent and Viola Davis as a teacher who joins Gyllenhaal’s effort.

The movie will be produced by Walden Media, backed by conservative-leaning billionaire Phillip Anschutz. A September release is scheduled.

Florida is one of many states weighing whether to adopt a parent trigger, which allows the majority of parents in a low-performing school to choose how to restructure a school — even against the objection of teachers, administrators or school boards.

For an explanation of the proposed Florida law, know as “Parent Empowerment in Education,” click here and here. The bill is on the floor in the House and waiting on a committee vote in the Senate.

Florida-based parent groups, such as Fund Education Now, and the PTA oppose the bill. They argued at a Tallahassee hearing last week that the parent trigger is being pushed by national lobbying groups such as California-based Parent Revolution and Students First.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Foundation for Florida’s Future also support the bill.


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