Tomorrow there will be a concert in Los Angeles called "Teachers Rock 2012." Portions will be broadcast on CBS this Friday.
The entire thing is an insult to teachers. No one who cares at all about teachers should watch, and we should all be demanding that the stars who have aligned themselves with this thing immediately pull out and disavow any connection to it. Here's why:
- "Teachers Rock 2012" is a promotional scheme for the upcoming anti-teacher movie, Won't Back Down. As Parents Across America explains:
- Won't Back Down is an entirely fictional account of the use of the "parent trigger" to convert public schools into charter schools. Professor Bruce Baker of Rutgers University has outlined the potential abuses of the parent trigger:But the storyline about the parent takeover has no resemblance to reality, says New York parent activist Leonie Haimson, a PAA co-founder. “The movie is supposedly based on a process called the ‘parent trigger,’ which purports to empower parents. But actually, the ‘parent trigger’ has a track record of 100 percent failure, and has pitted parents against parents and torn apart school communities at the two schools where it has been tried,” said Haimson. She points out that “Won’t Back Down” was produced by Walden Media, owned by conservative mogul Philip Anschutz, a major donor to anti-gay, creationist and other right-wing causes. Walden Media was the co-producer of the 2010 anti-public-education pseudo-documentary ‘Waiting for ‘Superman’.”
Grannan’s detailed comparison of the film version to real events can be found on here on the PAA web site. [emphasis mine]
Baker expands on that idea in this post. Parents Across America has more facts about the parent trigger here.I wrote about a week ago on how some charter schools, like North Star Academy in Newark have established themselves as the equivalent of elite magnet schools – potentially engaging in activities such as pushing out lower performing kids over time.So, my question for the day is whether these “parent trigger” policies might allow a simple majority of parents – or some defined majority share – to force a reorganization of their neighborhood school into a charter – that would subsequently weed out those other “less desirable kids?”
- "Teachers Rock 2012" is sponsored by Walmart, the retailer owned by the Walton family. The Walton Family Foundation gave out $159 million in support charter schools and vouchers, neither of which have been shown to improve achievement when accounting for student characteristics. Walmart is one of the most anti-union corporations in America and the Walton Family promotes an anti-union, democracy distorting agenda.
- One of the three groups that will receive proceeds from the concert is Teach For America. TFA has encouraged churn in the teaching corps because of the high attrition rate of its teachers. Critics - including those who participated in the program - contend TFA recruits are inadequately prepared to teach in the most difficult schools. Diane Ravitch shares more about TFA.
It's clear to me that the celebrities who have attached their names to "Teachers Rock 2012" have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. It's especially disheartening to see that many of them are members of unions - like Actors Equity, the American Federation of Musicians, or AFTRA - and yet they are willing to get behind a project with a barely concealed anti-union agenda.
Among the listed performers:
- Dierks Bentley: Twitter and Facebook
- Fun.: Twitter and Facebook
- Josh Groban: Twitter and Facebook
- Carrie Underwood: Twitter and Facebook
- Meryl Streep: Twitter and Facebook
- Jennifer Garner: Twitter and Facebook
- Matthew Morrison: Twitter and Facebook
- Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl: Twitter and Facebook
- Usher: Twitter and Facebook
- Maroon 5's Adam Levine: Twitter and Facebook
- Garth Brooks: website
Here's a nice piece about Teachers Rock 2012 spelling out its anti-union and anti-teacher point of view.
UPDATE: I assume all of the stars of Won't Back Down are members of SAG-AFTRA - the AFL-CIO affiliated union for screen actors. Why in the hell are our fellow union members participating in an exercise in union bashing?
Holly Hunter's involvement is particularly galling; she was one of the original signers of the Solidarity Campaign when an actor's strike was looming in 2008.
So she was all for union solidarity when it affected her career. But when it affects teachers? Meh...
ADDING: Jose Vilson lays it all out nicely.
Diane Ravitch has more. Here's a comment from her post: