A concert entitled “Teachers Rock 2012” is happening tomorrow in LA, and it’s attracted some major celebrity involvement including Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Adam Levine (Maroon 5 & “The Voice”), Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood, Matthew Morrison (“Glee”) and more. Portions of the event will be aired on CBS on Friday.
The concert is a promotional event for a new film called Won’t Back Down, a fictional account of parents engaging a particular legal maneuver to convert their open enrollment local public school under the control of an elected local school board into a charter school under private management. The film doesn’t reveal that when this move has been undertaken in real life, the result has been favorable only for those kids who are accepted by the new charter, which, unlike a true public school, can reject students in order to keep test scores and college acceptance rates high, absenteeism low and otherwise manipulate their success metrics, something public schools can’t do, all while charters are
funded with public dollars.
This film, like the pro-charter school Waiting for Superman is funded by Philip Anschutz, a far right, anti-union, anti-gay, pro-creationism entrepreneur who is also a major funder of right wing PACs backing Mitt Romney.
The “Teachers Rock 2012” event is sponsored by Walmart, well known for their stringent anti-union beliefs & willingness to throw their massive weight and money behind anti-union causes. (One of the alleged “benefits” of charter schools is the lack of teacher unionization.)
One of the groups receiving proceeds from the event is Teach for America, the program which takes people with college degrees in non-education fields, gives them a short summer “training” then drops them into underserved schools where they have neither the education nor support to adequately meet the needs of a largely at-risk student population. Turnover is high, leading to instability for those kids who need that the least.
The whole thing is rather a nightmare. And it’s highly curious why left wing, union member (SAG, American Federation of Musicians, Equity) performers would throw their time, effort and support into this endeavor.
Read more about it and see the recommended/requested action in response at Jersey Jazzman.