Newark (from the great education student and blogger Stephanie Rivera):
Tampa, at the Republican National Convention:
Charlotte, at the Democratic National Convention:2:00 PM Private Screening of Won’t Back DownPanel immediately following screening with:Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of StateJeb Bush, Chairman of Foundation for Excellence in EducationMichelle Rhee, Former DC Chancellor; Founder of StudentsFirstDaniel Barnz, Director, Won’t Back DownCampbell Brown, Moderator
The screening was sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform, Parent Revolution, and StudentsFirst. A panel discussion followed the film and included: Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento and ex-NBA star, Mark Johnson, the Producer, Michelle Rhee, Executive Director of StudentsFirst (and wife of Johnson), Ben Austin of Parent Revolution, Joe Williams of Democrats for Education Reform, Daniel Barnz, the Director, along with Campbell Brown, who moderated the panel. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles and DNC Chairman, also spoke to the attendees. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, addressed a crowd attending a reception that followed the screening.New York City (read the great Leonie Haimson's full review):
Let me see if I get this straight...If I hadn’t been on a panel to discuss the movie afterwards, I would probably have walked out.The panel also included Christina Grant, formerly the deputy Director for the DOE Office of Charter Schools and now head of NYCAN, a charter lobbying organization, and Kate Hayes, a parent with a Kindergarten child who has been shut out from attending her neighborhood public school because of overcrowding. Hayes is also on the founding board of a prospective charter school called Great Oaks, which has applied to the state to open in the fall of 2013.
The primary villain of Won't Back Down is a "bad" teacher. The central theme of this film is that bad teachers, protected by unions, are the primary problem in American education.
But at all of these panels, no one thought it would be a good idea to talk to an actual teacher.
My fellow educators, we need to understand something: these people do not respect us. They don't put us on TV. They don't include us in their policy making panels. They don't have us advise politicians. They don't put us on the boards of their lobbying shops.
These people do not think we are professionals. They think that what we do every day for the children of America is somehow beneath them. They talk on and on about how important we are, yet they couldn't give a damn about what we have to say.
Michelle Rhee couldn't hack it in a classroom past her third year. Yet somehow she has become the primary authority for many in the media on what needs to be done to "save" our schools. No, the experts aren't the actual teachers who have dedicated their lives to children; the real "expert" is Michelle Rhee, a woman whose track record is mediocre at best.
A woman who commands enough resources to put together special screenings of a film that vilifies teachers at both national political conventions. And who has rigged the conversation so that real teachers - who do a job she could not do - are excluded.
Everyone OK with that?
Would you please stop bring up my record as an educator?!
ADDING: I stand corrected: there was a teacher participating in one of these panels:
That bipartisan appeal reaches down to the local level. Here in Las Vegas, the screening was co-sponsored by Nevada’s Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Las Vegas’ Public Education Foundation, the Nonprofit Community and Leadership Center of UNLV and the city of Las Vegas, along with the national “education reform” outfits StudentsFirst and Parent Revolution. Mayor Carolyn Goodman introduced the movie, while Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, a Las Vegas Democrat and school teacher, joined a panel that included a local public school principal, private-school teacher and a veteran of a “parent trigger” charter takeover of a California school.
Some of the reforms sought by StudentsFirst and others were passed by the 2011 Legislature. One law puts teachers who receive negative job evaluations two years in a row on probationary status, losing the protection of tenure or seniority. Another law established a pay incentive program for teachers with positive classroom outcomes, makes it easier to fire teachers, and requires school districts to consider performance when making layoffs.
Assemblywoman Diaz, during the panel discussion, noted that the changes, which she supported, are in place but it may take years to determine their effectiveness. [emphasis mine]Ah, I see: teachers can participate in these discussions. As long as they are state-level politicians and agree with StudentsFirst's policies about eliminating teacher employment protections.
Good to know.