|Viola Davis (pictured left) & Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Won't Back Down"|
He adds: "Whether it’s ultimately a cause or effect, Gyllenhaal’s decision to do Won’t Back Down says a lot about how education reform is moving from margins to mainstream. Gyllenhaal and her costars are themselves not backing down in the face of criticism that the film is a school reform propaganda piece. On Monday’s Today Show, Oscar nominee Viola Davis [who plays a frustrated teacher] made clear that she understands firsthand how important education is in breaking the cycle of poverty. She grew up poor and seems to have little patience for those resisting efforts to improve public school. 'It’s a system that’s broken and needs to be fixed,' she said on the show."
More: "Whether the film’s protesters know it or not, they are spectacular foils for Won’t Back Down. Between the teachers unions carping that the movie is unfair and activists claiming that giving parents more power is akin to privatization, the critics have succeeded in turning a forgettable education story into a national conversation piece. That’s for the good. Because whatever you think of the film or of the idea of parent triggers as public policy, the plight of families trapped year after year in unacceptable schools is far more gut-wrenching than anything Hollywood could cook up."