Matt Damon minding his A-B-C’s in premiere


Cambridge golden boy Matt Damon graced us with his presence last night at the Boston premiere of “Backpack Full of Cash,” a documentary he narrated that explores our nation’s privatization of public schools.

“My mom’s a professor of early childhood education so this has kind of been an issue that’s been at the forefront of our family and dinner conversation for my entire life,” a Red Sox-capped Damon told the Track backstage at the Wheelock Family Theatre.

The documentary, which is the brainchild of filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow, dives into how corporate-driven education reform has impacted the public school system — and the young students in it.

Damon believes these reforms — policies that started with President George W. Bush and that were amplified while President Barack Obama was in the White House — have been made without consulting the education soldiers in the trenches everyday: the teachers.

“People who have found success in other walks of life feel that they’re somehow qualified to design education policy when they haven’t spent a day in the classroom and they have absolutely no teaching experience,” Damon said.

“It’s unthinkable that this would happen in any other discipline, that we’d hand over surgery to a billionaire because he was really successful in business,” he continued. “We’d let that guy do heart surgery or design medical policy. It’s just nuts.”

And as the product of a Massachusetts Public School — Cambridge Rindge and Latin — Damon sees the very essence of what made him successful being stripped from the education system.

“Things that really helped me thrive as a student: The freedom that my teachers had to teach me, to understand me … the leeway they had and the programs that were in place,” he said. “I was the beneficiary of this incredible theater program. Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck — we came out of the same program. That’s a public school at work.

“How many artists have we lost? How many artists have just given up because they feel this is not for them?”



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