AFT uses toolkit of info to battle dangerous stereotypes in film "Won't Back Down"

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A film soon to be in theaters called “Won’t Back Down” uses moving characters to drive home the sense of urgency parents and educators feel to do everything they can to provide the best possible education for their children. That urgency is abundantly evident in this film and what we hear when we talk with parents, colleagues and community leaders.

As educators we share that pain and frustration. And we firmly believe that every public school should be a school where every parent would want to send his or her child and where every teacher would want to teach. Unfortunately, using the most blatant stereotypes and caricatures—even worse than those in “Waiting for ‘Superman’”—the film affixes blame on the wrong culprit: America’s teachers unions.
"Won't Back Down" will be talked about—in our community, and among parents, teachers and others working in our schools. These conversations provide us with an opportunity to discuss what is really needed to ensure that every school provides every child with the best possible education. But we also must ensure that "Won't Back Down" doesn't backslide our communities, parents and teachers into a "blame game." Only by working together for solutions can we turn around failing schools.

While the majority of the public-facing campaign should be led by parent and community groups, a toolkit of resources and news articles will help educators organize and respond. A partial list of tools is below. For the full toolkit visit

Tools for Affiliates

§  Won't Back Down: A Memo from AFT President Randi Weingarten, 8/28/12

§  Sample Op Ed for leaders

§  "Won't Back Down"—Opportunities and Pitfalls (flier)

§  Suggested Strategies for Responding to Won't Back Down—Form request


§  Alternatives to parent trigger laws: Meaningful parent empowerment policies

§  Parent Trigger and Related Legislation—An Overview

§  "Won't Back Down"—A Film Devoid of Facts About Education and Teachers



§  'Won't Back Down': Realities the movie ignoresWashington Post," 8/20/12
Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss publishes the review of "Won't Back Down" by a parent activist, Rita Solnet.