American Federation for Children-Tennessee unveils “Better Than Normal” mini-documentary


Mini-doc explores how families have coped with education during COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE – American Federation for Children-Tennessee today unveiled a mini-documentary called Better Than Normal, exploring how families across Tennessee have navigated their children’s education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documentary also seeks to inspire Tennesseans to share lessons learned during the upheaval, and begin the conversation of how to improve K-12 education going forward.

“When the pandemic hit in February and March of 2020, schools and businesses shut down as we tried to understand the devastating effect of COVID-19 on our communities,” said Shaka Mitchell, State Director for AFC-TN. “When schools were set to return in the fall, districts across the state dealt with learning in a number of different ways: in-person with virtual options, hybrid schedules, and for some, entirely virtual. As fall turned to winter, and the uncertainty continued, we began to hear from families across the state that felt left behind. We created this documentary to give parents a platform to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and what their children need going forward.

“We hope this mini-documentary will spur conversations about how we can best support families and students. At AFC-TN, we don’t think there is one silver bullet. There are, however, a few things we heard over and over from parents that serve as guiding principles for the future:

  • Education policies must be student-centered;
  • Parents should be in the driver’s seat;
  • States should fund students, not systems;
  • One size does not fit all.

“We look forward to sharing this far and wide, and working with policymakers, families across Tennessee, and others to ensure we come back from this pandemic ‘Better Than Normal.”

AFC-TN’s mini-documentary, “Better Than Normal” can be found at