‘The Cartel’

California Association of
Private School Organizations

Volume 4, Number 27
4/7/2010

Motion pictures can be powerful vehicles for informing political consciousness and swaying public opinion. Film maker Michael Moore has amply demonstrated the existence of a receptive market for public policy documentaries. Regardless of what one thinks of Mr. Moore, or the positions he espouses, it is undeniable that his films have not only been commercial successes, but have been hugely successful at sparking national conversations around the issues they address.

In a new documentary titled, “The Cartel,” film maker Bob Bowdon delivers a no-holds-barred examination of New Jersey’s public education system. Exposing not only waste, fraud and abuse, but rampant theft, bribery and extortion in the state that spends more per-capita on public K-12 education than any other, the film pounds home the message that it’s all about money.

In one segment, former state history teacher of the year Beverly Jones relates her discovery of fiscal impropriety in the form of “phantom salaries,” and unjustifiable grade-retention of students. “The children are not the focus,” she mournfully tells the interviewer. “Money is the focus.” She also shares that her colleagues are afraid to speak out because they fear losing their jobs.

The film apprises viewers that, on average, a public school teacher in New Jersey receives a salary of $55,000. The average spending per K-12 classroom, however, is frequently in excess of $300,000. In Newark alone, over 400 administrators earn salaries eclipsing $100,000. In some districts, more than ninety cents out of every dollar is spent somewhere other than teachers’ salaries…

…”The Cartel” is scheduled to open in Los Angeles on April 16, and in San Francisco, April 30. Excerpts can be viewed online, here, and additional information about the film can be found, here.

The film review continues at CAPSO Mid-week Emailer.

H/T RISC

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