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‘Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity’ stops in Memphis

Education reform will be at the core of an interactive forum that will feature a panel discussion and a special screening of the film "Won't Back Down" on Wednesday (Oct. 10).

The event unfolds from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Malco Paradiso at 584 South Mendenhall. It's part of Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity, a cross-country tour to discuss education reform in local communities, highlight the important role the business community must play, and encourage local leaders to become a catalyst for change.

The partners behind the forum are The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF) and the Greater Memphis Chamber. The goal is to provide a setting for business, community, and education leaders to discuss the challenges the Shelby County Unified School District will face with its upcoming merger in August of 2013.

The panel discussion, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature Cheryl Oldham, vice president, Institute for a Competitive Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Billy Orgel, chair, Shelby County Unified School Board; Athena Turner, executive director, Teach For America; Natalie K. Person, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology and Director of Educational Studies at Rhodes College; and Yetta M. Lewis, chief academic officer, Gestalt Community Schools.

The screening of "Won't Back Down" begins at 5 p.m. Here's the plotline: Two determined mothers – one a teacher – look to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. The movie stars Viola Davis (the teacher) and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The A-list cast includes Ving Rhames, Holly Hunter, Rosie Perez and Marianne Jean-Baptist.

RSVP is mandatory. To register, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 901-543-3547

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