Backpack Full of Cash Screening

You Are Invited to A Free Screening

presented by BASD Proud Parents and the Bethlehem Area School District
Discussion to Follow
“BACKPACK FULL OF CASH” DOCUMENTARY – Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor, Matt Damon, BACKPACK explores the real cost of privatizing America’s public schools. Before the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the appointment of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow couldn’t have known that the new administration 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”.
BACKPACK FULL OF CASH 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 right. The film features genuine heroes like the principals, teachers, activists, parents and most hearteningly, students who are fighting for their education. Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, writer David Kirp and policy expert Linda Darling Hammond are among the national thought leaders who provide analysis in the film.
for more info
Official Website:
Instagram: @backpackthefilm


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• Public Schools
There are more than 13,500 public school districts, serving approximately 50 million students in the United States. 90% of American students attend public schools. Public schools represent a huge block of government spending, totaling over $600 billion yearly.
• Charters:
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run. There are about 6,800 charters (more than 7,000 in 2017-18) 1 in 44 states  — (43 states and DC have charter schools2), serving almost three million students, (nearly 3.2 million students1 or more than 6 percent of the nation’s public school students (correct in 2015-16)3. Charters are especially strong in urban areas. Philadelphia, whose struggle is highlighted in Backpack Full of Cash, had 86 charter schools in 2013-14.
• Vouchers
Vouchers use taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private, mostly religious schools. There are 61 different programs in 28 states that directly or indirectly fund private schools. Roughly 1.3 million students took part in the programs in 2017.
• Selective student bodies
Concern has grown over charter schools that erect barriers to enrollment, such as selective marketing or limited time frames. At one Philadelphia charter school, applications were available only one day a year, to families attending an open house at a suburban golf club.
• Test scores
Studies consistently note that, overall, test scores are not significantly different in voucher, charter, and public schools.
• School funding
At least 23 states provide LESS funding per student than before the 2008 Recession, according to a recent study by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Charters and private school vouchers leave even less money for public schools which the vast majority of children – including the most vulnerable – depend on.
• School privatization at the national level
In an unprecedented move, President Trump has pledged to spend $20 billion to promote school “choice”, including charters and vouchers. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and GOP donor, is a longtime advocate of vouchers, online schools and charters, including those run by for-profit companies.

Stay Informed • Educate • Advocate
BASD Proud Parents is strictly pro-public education. We are an independent group with no affiliations to the BASD school board or any political parties. Our goals are to help parents stay informed about educational policy discussions and to facilitate ways for any of us who would like the chance to have our voices heard, to get more involved in those policy conversations.