Better Days are Coming
Better Days Are Coming tells the story of Davonte Johnson, a student at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit, MI. Davonte’s story is not unfamiliar; it is that of too many Black kids who must, on a daily basis contend with under resourced schools. This does not have to be – the funding is there, but the programs and schools are not receiving it. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is also featured in conversation with Davonte about school funding in Detroit.
Tweet it: The federal government has the power to even the playing field for students across the country by fully funding #TitleI. Watch and share this film from @ReclaimOurSchls & @Media_Sutra: https://futureforlearning.org/better-days #FutureForLearning
Last year, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools released a groundbreaking report that documented the severe underfunding of Title I and IDEA, two programs meant to reduce the impact of poverty on children’s ability to learn. These two programs provide needed resources to 30 million school children. From their inception, Congress has never fully funded either program. This film, Better Days are Coming, is a call to action. It is a call to Congress to fully fund Title I. In April 2019, all around the country, education activists took action to demand public investment in public education.
America’s prosperity and quality of life depend on the public structures we have created. Budgets and taxes ensure that those public structures, like schools, libraries, roads and bridges, have the resources needed to thrive today and in the future.
Public schools are funded by a combination of property taxes, state and county taxes, federal taxes, and lotteries. While the formula by which schools are funded varies by state, overall investment has been lowered consistently since 1970. As with all forms of inequity, communities that have already been marginalized by poverty and by racism are most impacted by that disinvestment.
Economic inequality creates unequal childhoods and leads to gaps in learning and development. The uneven distribution of school funding limits our social and economic growth, and corrodes our communities by perpetuating inequality over generations. When we all support institutions like public education, we ensure that everyone has access to meaningful learning, not just those who can afford it.
The federal government pays for less than 10% of public education. Title I has been part of federal funding since 1965, intended to even the playing field by increasing funding for districts with higher poverty and lower literacy rates. But this intention is spread thin. What happens when schools do not receive the funds that were created to achieve equity?
Better Days are Coming is produced by Manauvaskar Kublall, MediaSutra, with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.
- Watch and share A ROSe in LA, the first film about Title I funding and youth activism coming from AROS and MediaSutra
- Education Debt Report from AROS
- Read this 2018 Education Trust report, “Funding Gaps: An Analysis of Schools Funding Equity Across the U.S and Within Each State.”
- Find out what Detroit Public Schools are doing in 2019 in “The Detroit school district sets the stage to improve in key areas such as enrollment, absenteeism” by Imani Harris, Chalkbeat Detroit.