TV Special Aims to Promote Parent Trigger

At first glance, a television program scheduled to air tonight (August 17) might look like a celebration of teachers, but we want OEA members to know that it is a promotional effort for an anti-public education movie.

“Teachers Rock – A Concert and Charity Event Benefiting Teachers and Education” is co-sponsored by Walmart and Walden Media, which is also producing the movie Won’t Back Down. The concert tonight will feature some big stars from the music industry and stars from the movie. During the program, viewers will see previews of the movie.

According to parentsacrossamerica.org, Won’t Back Down tells the story of a group of parents and teachers who use a “Parent Empowerment” law, better known as “Parent Trigger,” to take over a school that is failing their children. Parent Trigger legislation, promoted by the extreme right-wing organization American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has been passed in several states (but not yet in Oklahoma).

Parents Across America (PAA) says that, “…while the movie depicts an inspiring story of parental revolt, actual efforts to use the Parent Trigger have been driven by billionaire-funded supporters of privatization, and have sparked acrimony and division. None of these efforts has actually improved a school.”

“OEA members know that parents, families, educators and communities create the best partnership to ensure all public school students have the support and resources they need to succeed in school and life,” said OEA President Linda Hampton. “We can improve our schools by working together and by insisting that legislators put the necessary resources behind our students.”

Walden Media is owned by Philip Anschutz, who a year ago bought The Oklahoman and the Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO), also produced the pro-charter schools film Waiting for Superman.

Associations, including the OEA, along with parents and communities are working throughout the country to create positive, sustainable change in our public schools in order to increase student achievement. Great examples and tips can be seen in at neapriorityschools.org and nea.org/parents.

PAA is “…an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together on improving our nation’s public schools.” The organization’s website includes a Q&A about the movie and parent trigger legislation.


 

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