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How to Get a Docile Workforce

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Some people have wondered what happened to the much ballyhooed film “Won’t Back Down.”

Recall that it was featured on NBC’s “Education Nation,” which is the showcase for the corporate reform movement; one of its stars was interviewed on “Ellen”; it had an elegant opening party at the New York Public Library; Michelle Rhee hosted showings at the two national political conventions.

Should have been a big hit, right? Wrong.

It opened in 2,5000 theaters and disappeared within a month. Hardly anyone wanted to see it.

But it lives! The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is showing it around the country to business organizations, to convince them that the local public schools are awful and that they must support charter schools. Think of it: Schools where children learn to obey or get kicked out.

Here are the events planned for this week in Birmingham, Alabama, where businesses are still looking for the best way to train their workforce:



On behalf of the Birmingham Business Alliance, I would like to thank each of for agreeing to participate in our panel discussion next week in conjunction with our “Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity in Education” tour.  As we continue to work towards providing all students in the state of Alabama with quality education options and creating a dynamic workforce, it is important to have dialogue with those who are not only advocates for better education but, who are also actively working to bring about change.  Attached you will find the final agenda as well as talking points for each panel.  Within each panel, if there is an issue that you feel should be addressed, please don’t hesitate to send your suggestion.  A more detailed email will be sent on Tuesday of next week and will address any concerns or changes that are brought to my attention by panel participants.  Again, we are excited to have each of you participate in this interactive forum.  Please feel free to forward the invitation and registration link to any of your contacts or distribution list who would be interested in attending.

Thank you and we look forward to your participation.

L. Waymond Jackson, Jr.
Director – Education and Workforce Development
505 20th Street North, Suite 200
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 241-8117 (office)
(205) 324-2560 (fax)

On January 24th and 25th please join the Birmingham Business Alliance, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce as we kick-off their national tour “Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity in Education.”  The tour will focus on the various methods of education reform, business community involvement and engaging the community to become catalyst for change in education and workforce development.  Most recently, this tour has visited cities such as Memphis, Indiana, and Phoenix to name a few.

Day one consists of a screening of the movie “Won’t Back Down” featuring Academy Award Nominee, Viola Davis (The Help), immediately followed by a networking reception and opportunity to discuss the education reform issues addressed in the film.

Day two features a panel discussion comprised of area business and education leaders sharing ideas regarding education reform and how best to align the workforce needs of industry with K-12 , post-secondary, and higher education.  Topics to be discussed include, The Importance of Pre-K and Early Childhood Education, and How to Achieve a Ready to Work and Engaged Workforce.

Registration for this event is free and due to limited seating we encourage you to register before the event.  For a complete listing of panel participants please view the attached agenda; to register click on the link below.  Also, included in your “free” registration on Thursday, January 24th are popcorn, drinks, and hors d’ oeuvres and breakfast and lunch are included on Friday, January 25th.  Thanks and we look forward to seeing you next week.

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