"Won't Back Down" Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal
This blog was orginally posted on PRWatch.org
Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation’s education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film “Won’t Back Down” -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called “Parent Trigger” laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.
While Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, it was taken up and launched into hyperdrive by two controversial right-wing organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.
ALEC brings together major American corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. These bills include extreme gun laws, like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting, union-busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigrant legislation and voter suppression laws that have sparked lawsuits across the nation. The organization's agenda is so extreme that in the last few months 40 major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Motors, have severed ties with ALEC.
Similarly, the Heartland Institute recently suffered an exodus of corporate sponsors after it launched a billboard comparing those who believe in the science behind global warming to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
As the movie's stars take to the airwaves this week to promote the film, it is unlikely they will discuss the agenda of the film's billionaire backers or the right-wing politicians and for-profit firms who are promoting the Parent Trigger idea, the purpose of which is to promote the transformation of the American public school system into a for-profit enterprise.