John Oliver Will Love This Contest That's Trying To Take Him Down
A pro-charter-school group reacted to John Oliver's recent segment about the controversial system, and it did so in a way that Oliver himself should definitely be proud of. The Center for Education Reform (CER), one of the leading pro-charter advocacy groups in the country, is holding a $100,000 contest to benefit the school that makes the best video about why John Oliver was wrong about charter schools. Although the nonprofit organization did bash Oliver slightly in the process, he probably won't care that much, since the contest will accomplish exactly what he wanted from the segment anyway.
On Monday, CER launched the competition, which is officially titled the "Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School!" Video Contest, per the foundation's official website, with a scathing review of Oliver's recent segment on charter schools. "John Oliver, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, leveled a very unfair, unfortunate, unbalanced, unwarranted and generally unhinged tirade against charter schools," the website reads. It continues to say that CER launched the contest to counter the video's "propaganda," so that proponents of charter schools can show how much they love their school in a brief video, and have the chance to win $100,000.
Participants can make a video up to three minutes long about why Oliver was wrong, then upload it to the website. According to the official rules, entrants must be students, parents, and educators in charter schools, so unfortunately, no trolling is allowed (or at least, you won't be eligible to win the money). Videos will be judged on a 100-point scale, with 40 points awarded for message and 20 points each for creativity, production quality, and participation. The competition for the huge cash prize is sure to be fierce, but the website's introduction to the contest says that winning isn't the most important thing — it's telling Oliver that he's wrong. "Win or lose, take pride in the knowledge that your video will help set the record straight and let the public, and John Oliver, know the true value of charter schools."
Although the attack on Oliver is pretty savage, he probably won't mind so long as the contest gives some much-needed attention to charter schools. His segment was primarily focused on the need for additional oversight and increased funding, which should both be aided by this contest. With more people looking into charter schools and deciding for themselves whether the system works both on a national and local scale, Oliver's primary goal of getting people involved in the education system in order to benefit kids will be met. CER is trying to prove Oliver wrong, and in one sense it may accomplish that, but it's also going to prove him right.
The contest deadline is Sept. 26, so if you are interested in applying, there's a limited window. If you're not eligible, be sure to tune into Last Week Tonight when it returns from hiatus. Now that the story has gotten coverage from some of the biggest news outlets in the country, it's sure to resurface in some crazy, classic John Oliver fashion when the show comes back on air.