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Parent Trigger: The Movie?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Oscar nominee Viola Davis sits down with Bobbie Wygant about her career changing role in "Doubt." (Published Saturday, Feb 14, 2009)

    As parents in the city of Adelanto debate whether to pull the so-called "parent trigger" and reconstitute their children's school, the New York Times reports that there's already a "parent trigger" movie in the works.

    It's called "Won't Back Down" and starts Academy Award nominee Viola Davis ("The Help") in a fictional story of a parent trigger fight in Pennsylvania. The fight is fictional because the parent trigger has not successfully been pulled anywhere in the United States -- the tool is too new. The backer of the film is a company owned by Phil Anschutz, best known in California for his firm AEG, which runs the Staples Center in LA and is trying to bring NFL football back to the city.

    Hollywood's embrace of the "parent trigger" says a lot about this particular school reform tool. The idea of having parents take over failing schools is dramatic, even cinematic, but in practice, it's a tricky business -- so tricky that the trigger itself is unlikely to become a widely used tool for school reform.

    A movie about the parent trigger runs the risk of putting too much emphasis on an uncommon tool -- and distracting us from the difficult, long-term task of raising standards in schools. That work should be based on research and data -- not the silver bullet of parent takeovers.

    One On One With Viola Davis

    [DFW] One On One With Viola Davis
    Oscar nominee Viola Davis sits down with Bobbie Wygant about her career changing role in "Doubt." (Published Saturday, Feb 14, 2009)

    On the other hand, a public conversation about parent involvement in schools can be a good thing. And sparking conversation is the best thing about the parent trigger itself. Parents may not be the best people to make decisions about school policy, but when the trigger is used, it sparks controversy -- and debate -- about schools. And while the controversy around the parent trigger has been used to criticize the tool, the creation of controversy around local schools, and the attention that follows controversy, is mostly healthy.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.

    Viola Davis on How "The Help" Changed Her Life

    [NBCAH] Viola Davis on How "The Help" Changed Her Life
    Viola Davis chats about the accolades she's receiving for her role in "The Help." How has that movie changed her life, and why does she feel a higher sense of responsibility now? Lastly, is she worried about what Ricky Gervais may say at the 2012 Golden Globes? (Published Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014)