Publicizing Private Partnerships in Public Schools

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The film Backpack Full of Cash discusses the damaging effects of the continued efforts to privatize public education in the United States. In Backpack Full of Cash there were multiple, diverse voices being represented in the film, however, one key voice missing was that of young undocumented students and their families navigating this complex system. Being that undocumented students and their families face an added level of barriers to receiving an education, it is disappointing to see that these voices were virtually erased from the conversation of minorities in the conversation of the privatization of the public education system. Furthermore, millions of undocumented youth are a part of the public education system and thus are consequently affected by the privatization of public education and failing to voice their concerns and the damaging effects this is having on them leaves a big hole in the understanding of the effects of the privatization.

The video’s filmmakers were effectively able to convey the stark differences between the multi-million dollar charter schools and the underfunded public schools. As the narrator explained an issue they filmmakers did a good job of discussing and using visuals to show the vastly different situations and issues each school was facing. These images were effectively placed in context with each other, evoking strong emotions from those watching the film. These contrasts helped create more emotions from within the audience. Additionally, as a student of color that went through the public education system for a part of my education, the film set-up allowed me to feel connected and able to relate to the issues being discussed in the film. This created a much stronger reaction to the film and the issues presented for my peers who came from similar educational backgrounds and myself.

Mondale, Backpack Full of Cash
Mondale, Backpack Full of Cash

Mondale, Sarah. “Backpack Full of Cash.” Backpack Full of Cash, Stone Lantern Films and Turnstone Productions, 2017,