Local organizations are collaborating on a free screening of award-winning documentary “Backpack Full of Cash.”
The free screening will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Theatre. Local students and parents are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts. The film explores the privatization of education and how this leaves public schools with few resources. Public school students get the brunt of that, the movie claims. The film follows students in school systems throughout the nation, including in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Nashville. Actor Matt Damon produced and narrates the film.
“The movie highlights the ways in which privatization and underfunding are undermining public schools especially in black and brown communities,” said Mercedes Phelan, New Education Organizer for Metro Justice. Metro Justice’s Education Committee is one of the organizations behind the screening. “This film is a good opportunity to explore how the challenges we face here in Rochester are the same challenges being faced in cities across the country.”
“I got involved in the making of ‘Backpack Full of Cash’ because it tells the important story of how current education reform policies are increasing inequality and causing harm to our most vulnerable children,” Matt Damon told the Washington Post. “The expansion of charter schools is draining funds from our public schools and benefiting some children while leaving others behind with fewer resources. We need a public school system that gives every child an equal chance to a great education.
The film dives into the 2013-2014 year but three years later, charter schools and alternative education programs can still hugely impact how local public schools receive funding.
“We are hoping that parents and community members will come see the movie, share their stories and engage with us on how we can work together to demand the solutions our children deserve,” Phelan said.