Won’t Back Down was criticized for its numerous shortcomings
and idealization of certain aspects of school reform, yet it did receive
praise from some critics for its attempt to stimulate dialogue about
education reform among the mainstream public. Journalist Andrew
Rotherham said that “despite its sugary Hallmark quality, Won’t Back
Down is a serious film about a grim reality parents and teachers stuck
in a system that puts kids last.” It was also well-received by education
reformers across the political spectrum who “have hailed the film as a
potential game-changer” (Simon). Education reform advocate Ben
Austin said, “This movie has the potential to be one of the most
transformative vehicles in the history of education reform” (Simon).
While that statement seems to be an exaggeration because the film
flopped at the box-office and has probably not reached as large of an
audience or made quite the impact that Austin expected, it is important
to note that the film is another addition to the important dialogue about
public schools in America, a topic that needs further exploration and,
most notably, a more balanced approach to solving problems. Perhaps
if the oppositional opponents in the education wars could work
together toward, the public school debate could transform from being
anti-reform, anti-union, anti-charter, etc. to being pro-kids because, in
the end, this is what is most important to individual students and to our
country as a whole.
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