'Won't back down...' is latest Hollywood addition to the 'Waiting for Superman' propaganda trail. Teacher bashing. Union busting. Privatization agenda again on display thanks to Hollywood moguls and brain-dead stars

Recently, the preliminary propaganda for the upcoming Hollywood movie "Won't Back Down" has caught the eye of many of us and sadly misled some of us (including this reporter). A closer look at the pre-release propaganda for the movie and the agendas of the movie's creators and promoters gives everyone an idea of what we're facing. And what we will be facing is that latest iteration of the "Waiting for Superman" genre of pro-charter school attacks on public school teachers, unions, and the public schools themselves.

Union members across the country are beginning to ask why union actors and actresses like Maggie Gyllenhaal (above) are working like dogs to produce union-busting and teacher bashing propaganda like "Won't Back Down" for the right wing propagandists who have begun a new generation of anti-public school media work since "Waiting for Superman" two years ago.The best comprehensive analysis of what is looming came to us through Oakland and friends there. This was an email from Sharon Higgins ( that arrived at Substance on August 9, 2012.

“Won’t Back Down” (WBD) is pure, unadulterated propaganda which was designed to stimulate intense emotional support for The Parent Trigger. WBD was produced by Walden Media, as was “Waiting for Superman,” its documentary predecessor. It is strongly believed that one major reason "Waiting for Superman" failed to even get nominated for an Oscar because the director had staged scenes.

Walden Media is owned by Philip Anschutz, an extremely conservative Colorado billionaire and major donor to right-wing causes.

The Parent Trigger was originally conceived by a phony grassroots organization birthed from a charter chain in Southern California (Green Dot Public Schools). More about that here:

Union teachers and other union activists are expected to picket and protest at the opening of the latest union-busting Hollywood propaganda film, "Won't Back Down" when the film opens in September. Like the 2010 movie "Waiting for Superman," "Won't Back Down" is a slick propaganda piece promoting charter schools and bashing real public schools, real public school teachers, and teacher unions.Then the idea was picked up by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) who then wrote model legislation for The Parent Trigger Act. The text was adopted by the Education Task Force at ALEC’s 2010 States & Nation Policy Summit in December 2010, then approved by the ALEC Board of Directors in January 2011.”

ALEC had the document posted on their website for a while, but then removed it at some point. The cached document can still be seen here:

Scrubbing that document and revising parts of their website came about with the growing awareness of ALEC – and the accompanying outrage – which occurred in late 2011 and earlier this year, much of which resulted from the work of this group:

The corporate ed reformers who are pushing privatization are subjecting American citizens to a propaganda campaign to advance their agenda. Michelle Rhee is a big part of it, and that is why her organization, StudentsFirst, has collaborated with many of the Tea Party-type governors who are intent on crippling what remains of public education.

“Won’t Back Down” has now become a part of the long and extensive history of propaganda film making.

The hype for WBD started to get underway last week in NYC w/a promotional screening, and it will be non-stop for the next few months. It has also been timed to coincide with other efforts.

Parents Across America has also done a critique of it:


August 21, 2012 at 7:42 AM

By: Diana L. Heymann

Real teachers in real classrooms

I've been a teacher for over thirty years. What is missing from this picture is a film which shows real public school teachers in real classrooms who are working with really tough situations and making a difference because of their persistence, ability to engage students in the learning process and meet the individual needs of students. These classrooms and schools exist all over this great country. Why haven't we focused on this and spread the word about the good things that happen?

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