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A Message from AFTabout new anti-teacher union movie

September 30, 2012

Message from AFT about new anti-teachers union movie

 On Sept. 28, a new movie, “Won’t Back Down,” was released in theaters across the country. The movie, which was produced by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, portrays teachers unions as an obstacle to education reform. It attempts to hide its true anti-worker agenda behind an emotionally charged storyline about parents taking over a failing school.
 
We are strongly encouraging affiliates to help spread the real facts about this movie:
 
“Won’t Back Down” is flawed, inaccurate and intended to promote a political agenda to privatize education.
 
· The movie is intended to build support for “parent trigger” laws that allow charter school operators to collect majority petitions from parents, which then enables charter schools to take over public schools.
 
· Parent trigger laws are being pushed in legislatures throughout the country by organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which Walden Media owner and oil billionaire Philip Anschutz helps fund. The emotional appeal of the movie is intended to help push this type of legislation.
 
· Walden Media’s Anschutz has funded many organizations that operate against the public interest in favor of corporate interests.
 
· Anschutz opposes employees having a voice on the job through a union and collective bargaining, and he spends a lot of money trying to get those rights curtailed.
 
· Anschutz also has invested millions in anti-gay and anti-environmental organizations, displaying—along with his attacks on public schools—a set of values out-of-step with most audiences of this film.
 
It’s time to support our teachers – not vilify them
 
· Teachers unions across the country are working with parents, administrators, community and businesses to improve public schools, and that is the story worth telling.
 
 The last thing the country needs is another attack on employees and their unions. Unions give hardworking employees a voice on the job. And unions help ensure that we can advocate for those who depend on the vital services union members provide.
 
· Teachers are devoted to their students and their work. Despite the budget cuts we’ve seen everywhere, teachers continue to do more with less, and go above and beyond to mentor, guide and encourage children.
 
  Teachers unions give educators a voice in their work and the ability to work together to advocate for students and their parents.
 
· “Won’t Back Down” ignores the positive contributions teachers make through their unions to improve the quality of education in schools.
 
 The Chamber of Commerce and a number of right-wing organizations are sponsoring showings of the movie in cities across the country. If you hear of any special showings in your area, or if you have any questions or want additional information on the movie, please contact Larry Doyle, deputy director of AFT organization and field services at ldoyle@aft.org.
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