Parent trigger on the silver screen

Geoffrey Lawrence

Over the weekend, I went to see Won’t Back Down, a new movie portraying the struggles of parents whose children have been zoned into failing schools by their local school district monopoly.

If you haven’t seen the film, go see it. Whether you’re a true education reformer or a union/establishment apologist, this movie is definitely worth seeing. Perhaps most telling is this line from Ving Rhames: “It’s possible to criticize and support teachers unions.”

While the film itself is profound and powerful, what’s most interesting is the public policy at the heart of its story: parent-trigger laws. (I recently wrote about the promise of parent-trigger laws over at After all, Won’t Back Down is a fictional adaptation of a true story that occurred in Southern California after parents and lawmakers became frustrated with the tolerance for failure in their public school system and searched for some method of recourse.

Here’s a short interview with the real-life mother who inspired the making of Won’t Back Down:

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.