Friday, October 28, 2016

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post:

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film

“Backpack Full of Cash” is a film title that suggests some untoward money dealings. And a new film by that title is — though the theme is not the traditional movie yarns about arms or drug dealing.
Actually, it’s a 90-minute documentary about the real and ongoing movement to privatize public education and its effects on traditional public schools and the students they enroll. With actor and activist Matt Damon narrating, “Backpack” tells a scary but important story about corporate school reform policies that critics say are aimed at destroying the U.S. public education system, the country’s most important civic institution.
While many Americans have heard of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, often by for-profit companies, and school “vouchers,” which use public money to pay tuition for private schools, they may not understand their central place in the broader corporate reform movement. That movement, which also includes policies such as standardized test-based “accountability” systems, thrived under the administrations of presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and then Barack Obama, a Democrat. But there are both Republicans and Democrats who oppose corporate reform as well.
“Backpack” — done by Stone Lantern Films, and Turnstone Productions — attempts to explain the entire movement through the prism of the 2013-2014 school year. The best way to understand what is happening is by looking at how corporate reform affects schools, teachers and children, and that’s what the film attempts to do. Here’s a description of the film, from its Kickstarter website:
BACKPACK takes viewers to Philadelphia, where in 2013-14, the charismatic principal of South Philadelphia High worries about the upcoming school year — his school has no music teacher, no librarian, and just two counselors for over 1,000 students. Across town, the C.O.O. of a brand new charter school welcomes students to gleaming, high tech classrooms.
In North Philly, a 10th-grader performs a virtual frog dissection on her computer, in her bedroom. Her cyber charter school is run by the biggest for-profit online education company in the world.
In Nashville, TN, a teacher is giving standardized tests to her eight-year-old students. This is their 30th Test Day of the year. Testing companies reap huge dividends.
And in Louisiana, a Bible school headmaster teaches creationism to students who pay tuition with tax-funded vouchers.
The description also notes that the term “backpack full of cash” refers to the belief by corporate Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post: