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Backpack full of Cash
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DOCUMENTARY FILM ABOUT THE PRIVATIZATION OF AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS, TO BE SCREENED WITH FILMMAKER Q&A

NYS Writers Institute, Friday, September 8, 2017
7:00 p.m. Film screening with commentary by director/producer Sarah Mondale and producer/editor Vera Aronow, Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus [Note early start time]

ProtestEVENT LISTING:

A screening of the new documentary, BACKPACK FULL OF CASH(2017), about the effects of privatization of America’s public schools, will be followed by Q&A with award-winning director/producer Sarah Mondale and producer/editor Vera Aronow on Thursday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany downtown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are cosponsored by the NYS Writers Institute, UAlbany’s Department of History and Documentary Studies Program, and United University Professions.

PROFILE:
Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor, Matt Damon, the documentary film BACKPACK FULL OF CASH (2017, 96 minutes, color) explores the real cost of privatizing America’s public schools. Filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow will speak and answer questions immediately following the screening.

Sarah Mondale
Sarah Mondale

Before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow couldn’t have known that the new administration in Washington would dramatically shift the national debate about education 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”. 

Vera Aronow
Vera Aronow

BACKPACK FULL OF CASH, a cautionary tale, follows the tumultuous 2013-14 school year in Philadelphia and other cities where public education – starved of resources and undermined by privatization – is at risk.  The documentary 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. BACKPACK FULL OF CASH makes the case for public education as a basic civil

The film features principals, teachers, activists, parents, and students who are fighting for their education. Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, writer David Kirp, and policy expert Linda Darling Hammond provide policy analysis in the film.

Narrator Matt Damon explains, “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.”

Director Sarah Mondale notes, “I come from a family of teachers. I know the value of what public education did for me. Public schools face big challenges, but I think with charters and vouchers, there’s a real danger of undermining the system.”  Producer Vera Aronow adds: “We wanted to understand the impact of reforms on the public schools, and give the families and educators who are most affected a chance to tell their own stories.”

The filmmakers are part of the team that made the award-winning, four-part PBS series SCHOOL: The Story of American Public Educationnarrated by Meryl Streep. BACKPACK is a follow up to the SCHOOL series, and a rebuttal to the widely seen 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst