Light-Hearted Videos Show Funding Shortfalls in Schools

A video featuring an out-of-touch granny aims to show how Colorado schools suffer from a lack of adequate funding.A clueless, cupcake-carrying granny is surprised to learn that there are 35 children in her grandson’s class.

Granny is the star in a series of 45-second videos — the first of which made its debut recently — created and distributed by Great Education Colorado to highlight problems with school funding in the state.

“The idea is to do it virally,” said Lisa Weil, policy director at Great Education Colorado, a nonprofit group of parents and public school supporters who work for increased investment in the state’s schools. “We want people to see the video on the Internet and forward it so that people say, `Wait a minute – we spend $1,000 less per kid, that’s $300,000 in a school of 300!’ ”

In the video, Granny is surprised to learn from a thundering voice in the sky that Colorado spends $1,034 less per pupil than the national average and that it ranks 38th nationally in student-teacher ratios. These figures, from the U.S. Department of Education, speak for themselves, Weil says.

“People may not realize how bad the situation has become in Colorado. What we are talking about are high schools using textbooks that reflect the Soviet Union, buildings that are falling apart and class sizes growing while schools lose funding for paraprofessionals.”

The Colorado School Stories Project, a collection of video interviews, photographs and narratives collected from parents, teachers, students and administrators in schools across the state, is an effort to show the impact of school funding shortfalls in districts statewide.

The Granny videos are meant to pique interest in the budget issues examined and illustrated in School Stories. The hope is for Granny to go viral and help rack up signatures on a petition to Colorado lawmakers demanding greater attention to school funding issues.

If you would like to sign the petition, click here.

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Kate Bernuth

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