Education Meltdown: Why Won’t Back Down Could Be This Generation’s China Syndrome
Can advocates of school reform break through with popular culture?
October 3, 2012 - 7:00 am
Reforming education is a cause that should unite all Americans. Who does not want to see every child equipped with the tools needed to be a self-sufficient, productive member of society? Who doesn’t want kids given skills that enable them to provide for a family someday? There is general agreement that the system is broken. Politics will always play a role as positions such as school board chairman are voted on.
Yet there are key steps that must be taken prior to those auxiliary decisions made at the ballot box. Between here and there a complete overhaul of the way we do public education is needed at the local, state, and federal level. This type of monumental change requires some consensus-building.
Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the D.C. public schools and founder/CEO of Students First, was, for all intents and purposes, the star of Waiting for Superman, and according to Barnz, one of the key inspirations for him as he wrote and directed Won’t Back Down. She is also a committed liberal Democrat. She has taken flack from her “side” because she has dared to challenge one of the most sacred of cows of the American Left: public-sector unions. Yet she’s also received considerable support from her “side” because millions of Americans across the political spectrum have grown fed up with the status quo.
There seems to be a window of opportunity opening to really shake things up in the way we do education in this country. With events like the Chicago teachers’ union strike and the showdown between Governor Scott Walker and the public-sector unions of Wisconsin, we need to look for catalysts that will awaken the electorate to the sense of urgency warranted by the problem at hand.
Won’t Back Down works as a movie and touches a national nerve – as such it has the potential to be a cultural catalyst. It is a fine film; the fact it has the potential to change some hearts and minds along the way only adds to its appeal.
You might even say it’s educational.
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