‹ Back to Press Releases

Screenings and Panel Discussions of Film “Won’t Back Down” to be Held in Tampa and Charlotte

StudentsFirst – a bipartisan national grassroots education reform movement will help bring screenings of "Won't Back Down" – a new major studio motion picture to be released on September 28th - to Tampa an Charlotte at the time of the national party conventions. The screening concurrent to the Democratic National Convention will be co-hosted by Democrats for Education Reform and Parent Revolution. The screening at the Republican National Convention will be co-hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The film tells a powerful story of parenthood, friendship, hope and courage. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis portray determined mothers – one of them a teacher – who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school.  Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy and a system mired in traditional thinking, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.

"As a mother, I know that I'd be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure my daughters get a great education," said StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee. "This movie speaks to the importance of great teachers and sends a touching, powerful and important message that transcends party divisions: every child deserves a great education, too many aren't getting one, and whether we're Democrats or Republicans we have to take action and change that."

The policies depicted in the film – as well as the general consensus around the need for bold reforms to improve our nation’s schools – have drawn strong support from Democrats and Republicans around the country, marking education reform as an issue with clear bi-partisan backing. The U.S. Conference of Mayors – composed of mayors from major cities around the country and led by Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic National Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa – recently unanimously endorsed resolutions supporting a number of key reforms, including reforming teacher evaluations, empowering parents with "parent trigger" policies, recruiting talented teachers, and encouraging district and public charter school collaboration. And states across the country – like Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – are taking action to pass common sense reforms to improve schools for all of our kids, with support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Following the screenings in both Tampa and Charlotte, StudentsFirst and its partners will host panel discussions featuring the director and co-writer of the film, Daniel Barnz, the film's producer Mark Johnson as well as StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee. The screening in Charlotte will also include Joe Williams, Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform and Ben Austin, founder of Parent Revolution. The RNC screening will feature former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Dr. Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of State and current Stanford professor.

The screenings are sponsored by StudentsFirst and it's bipartisan partners and are not hosted or sponsored by the respective national convention committees. For further information on the screenings and details on how to attend, please contact mediarequests@studentsfirst.org

About StudentsFirst:

StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 1 million members nationwide, working to focus our education system on what's best for students. Today, too many of America's children are not getting the quality education they need and deserve. StudentsFirst is helping to change that with common sense reforms that help make sure all students have great schools and great teachers. We are working to ensure educators are valued for the critical role they play in kids' lives, families have high-quality school choices and a real say in their child's education, and our tax dollars are spent wisely on what works for kids. Launched by former Washington, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in December 2010, StudentsFirst has successfully helped pass more than 70 student-centered policies in 17 states, and our movement continues to grow.

Contact: mediarequests@studentsfirst.org