Kansas Citians hope people draw inspiration from movie - KCTV5

Kansas Citians hope parents, school district draw inspiration from Hollywood movie

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Education has always been a hot-button political issue, and Hollywood has taken notice and put out a film that is sure to have everyone talking.

The film Won't Back Down stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a single, low-income mom who helps reform a failing school in her district with the help of a determined teacher. It opens Friday and was highly promoted in recent weeks, a rarity for this type of film.

"I'm so excited, focusing on the classroom and focusing on teachers, parents working together and I think that's so important here," teacher Cammy Neth said.

Neth teaches at Liberty Public Schools and is one of the teachers who attended Wednesday night's screening of the film. She said the central theme of education reform hit home.

"It's something that is so huge, time is not on our side. We have to work on it and we have to get going on it," Neth said.

That was the reason Students First held the screening and panel discussion in Kansas City. It was one of 20 they've done throughout the country.

"We want people to get excited," Lea Crusey with Students First said. "Seeing that these communities can come together and turn around a school is really empowering and pretty exciting."

In watching the film, it was hard to ignore the many parallels between the fictional school and the unaccredited Kansas City Public School District. KCTV5's Dave Jordan asked Mayor Sly James to give us his take on the film.

"It's something that keeps the topic of education percolating, and that's a topic that's worth talking about every day," James said.

James said that, based on conversations he had with the school superintendent, the school district could get its accreditation back within three to four years.

None of the KCPS board members attended the screening because it conflicted with their meeting that was held the same night.

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