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Erlanger-Elsmere schools hosting ‘Backpack Full of Cash’ screening, discussion about public education

Staff report

Erlanger-Elsmere and Kenton County teachers associations are hosting a free public screening of the film, “Backpack Full of Cash.”

The screening will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, at Dietz Auditorium, 305 Bartlett Ave, Erlanger. It is open to the public. Parents, caregivers, business leaders, educators and the community is encouraged to attend.

The 90-minute documentary explores the “real cost” of privatizing America’s public schools and builds a case for public education as a basic civil right. It focuses on the 2013-14 school year, focusing on corporate-driven education “reform” where public education hangs in the balance

Click to watch the video

It is narrated by Academy-Award-winning actor Matt Damon, an advocate for public education. His mother, Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, is an expert on early childhood development and an author whose books include “Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Roadmap for Raising Confident, Creative and Compassionate Kids.”

“I got involved in BACKPACK FULL OF CASH because I believe that every kid should have access to great public schools. I got a great education in public schools and my mom is an educator so I know just how hard teachers work every day.”

Filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow couldn’t have known that the national education debate would dramatically shift to the very issues at the heart of their film: charter schools, vouchers and privatization. Now, this timely new documentary takes viewers into the world of market-based education “reform.”

The documentary is a cautionary tale, say its filmmakers, about how, in cities like Philadelphia, privatization and funding cuts have had a devastating impact on public schools and the most vulnerable children who rely on them. The film also showcases a model for improving schools – a well-resourced public school system in Union City, New Jersey, where poor kids are getting a high-quality education without charters or vouchers.

It features genuine heroes like the principals, teachers, activists, parents and most hearteningly, students who are fighting for their education — and plenty of experts to provide analysis.

It is rife for conversations about controversial reforms like charter schools that screen out the neediest students; religious schools that accept taxpayer-paid vouchers; standardized tests; and cyberschools where children learn at home while entrepreneurs reap huge profits.

The filmmakers ask: Why dismantle the public schools system? Why not make it work well for every child instead?

The screenings and discussions around the film are taking place across the country.

See Backpack Full of Cash Facebook page, click here

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