The new film Won't Back Down, about parents taking education reform into their own hands, is getting hammered at Rotten Tomatoes, and CT's review gave the movie just 1½ stars. But the film is mainly being criticized—and not just by movie critics—for oversimplifying a complex situation: Education reform. Some have also faulted the film for demonizing teachers' unions.

Walden Media produced the film (distributed by Fox), and its president, Micheal Flaherty, has read many of the criticisms (including CT's). A devout Christian with a background in education and a passion for school reform, Flaherty addressed the criticisms in an e-mail conversation with CT. He hopes the film will inspire viewers to work with local schools and teacher to improve opportunities for their children.

Via e-mail, Flaherty noted that in any movie, "We only have two hours; we can't present all of the complexity of a public policy goal.To suggest that is possible is kind of foolish.I don't think Traffic did a good job explaining the complexities of the drug trade or The Blind Side did a great job of explaining the intricacies of foster care, poverty, adoption, and Division I recruiting, but they were entertaining."

Flaherty says he's not surprised that teachers' unions would criticize Won't Back Down: "They would discredit anything that challenges them and the status quo—an unjust status quo."

He asks what a parent would do if their child "was trapped in a failing school with the worst teacher in the state? This is not abstract—it is happening to kids all across the country. The answer is she would not waste her time with the complexities of the issue; she would fight with every fiber of her being to get her kid into a better ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueOur May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Our May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Can research about the fruit of the spirit make you a better Christian?
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Walden Responds to Critics
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.