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Movie Set and Shot in Pittsburgh Arrives in Local Theaters

'Won't Back Down' is the story of two mothers, one a teacher, and their fight to transform their children's failing inner city school.

Yet another movie shot, and this time also set, in Pittsburgh opens this weekend, and in light of the ongoing debate about education reform, school funding, and charter schools, it may trigger some buzz.

'Won't Back Down,' starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter, is the story of two mothers, one a teacher, and their fight to transform their children's failing inner city school.

The movie's producers said it was inspired by the story of a California mother who tried to use what's called a "parent-trigger" law to take over a school. 

The movie has already getting a lot of reaction.

“While we wouldn’t expect a Hollywood production about public schools to be grounded in research-based facts, there are many reasons to be concerned about the images of educators portrayed in the movie and the fanfare surrounding this type of law — which so far has only been used in one instance but has piqued the interest of legislatures in several states,” said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

“While ‘parent involvement’ always sounds agreeable, we have research showing that certain parental strategies work much better than others — and parent trigger laws are far from being a proven methodology.” 

Reaction was mixed at a screening earlier this week in Philadelphia.

"I thought it was a good movie, but I have concerns. Only two out of 10 charter schools really work, so what do we do about the eight failing charter schools? I think there needs to be more accountability," Sylvia Simms, president of Parent Power told myfoxphilly.com.

"It's a piece of fiction, and there were exaggerations and inaccuracies, but it was compelling for parents wanting good neighborhood schools," Jerry Jordan, president of the Philly Federation of Teachers told the TV station.

"The movie is empowering for teachers and parents and, for me, that's critical because those two stakeholders have been the least empowered in this entire education reform movement, " George Parker, former president of the Washington Teachers Union told myfoxphilly.com.

Are you going to see the movie? If so, let us know what you think in the comments box below.

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Heidi McDonald September 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM
My son Ian and I are both in this film. In the official trailer, he is the blurry kid on the left of the screen at :12 and :17. We will be seeing this over the weekend and will be able to report where we are. We were in some pivotal scenes, directly behind the main actors, so there's no doubt we'll be visible. :)
Sue T September 28, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Where does the statistic that 8 out of 10 charter schools fail come from? I know it was stated by one of the viewers at the Philly show, but since the stat is quoted, has it been confirmed?
Ken Jones September 28, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I will see the film here in New Hampshire. As with so many discussions about the fine (or rough) points of education (this film, the Chicago strike, arguments about charter schools, home schooling and much more), precious little is said about the children. Adults argue ceaselessly about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin as a steady stream of students shuffles past. These students are the stuff of endless experiments. Does anybody notice or care? This a moving stream of human beings, not some static subject on which to experiment!

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