Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, will hold a screening of "Won't Back Down," at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, at the EpiCenter Theater (sign up here). The movie, starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal, tells the story of two moms using a "parent trigger law" to take over a failing school.
Democrats for Education Reform, a political action committee that supports accountability and closure of failing public schools, will hold an invitation-only "town hall" at Charlotte's Knight Theater on Tuesday, Sept. 4. DFER is also co-sponsoring the movie screening, along with Parent Revolution, a group promoting parent trigger laws.
Both the movie and the approach being promoted by Rhee and the other reform groups have sparked strong criticism. Parents Across America, a group with a conflicting version of how to improve public schools, has already sent out a "thumbs down" news release about the movie, saying it is "funded by right-wing sources to spread an anti-public education message." MecklenburgACTS, a local group whose leadership was involved in creating Parents Across America, is encouraging its members to rally before both Charlotte events and challenge the views of the sponsors.
Normally I'd be all over these events. But of course the national attention is coming because of the Democratic National Convention, which has most of the Observer's staff playing out of position. I'm not even sure these panels will make the cut for coverage. But I'm sure we'll all be talking about the movie and the views being debated at these panels long after the convention is gone. So keep me posted on what you're thinking, seeing and hearing, even if I'm not blogging much during the coming week.