Not sure it’s Oscar buzz, but it sure sounds like the new movie “The Cartel” is putting N..J.’s educational establishment on the defensive. Word is that the movie is a Michael Moore-ish indictment of American education in general, but the most offensive examples of corruption, waste, and poor judgement seem reserved for the Garden State. (The filmmaker, Bob Bowdon, hails from Hoboken.)
If you want the teasers, go to the film’s website for some old – and corrected – embarrassments like overcompensated superintendents. (The D.O.E. has issued new regulations governing contracts and perks.) Then there’s the old and uncorrected ones, like an audit commissioned by the D.O.E. which found that 25 cents of every dollar spent by Abbott districts is “unnecessary, excessive or lacking documentation.,” and the familiar data point that N.J. spends more money per pupil than anywhere else in the country.
There’s also a good overview in the Star-Ledger, including a description of the film’s criticism of the NJEA:
The movie also criticizes teachers unions and the tenure process, charging both protect bad teachers. One former administrator interviewed in the film says 40 percent of the staff at his former school should have been replaced.
The teachers’ union replies with the usual pablum; NJEA Spokesman Stever Baker replies indignantly that tenure is a “not a job for life. It’s a fair dismissal process.” Care to provide some data on the number of fair dismissals over, say, the last 10 years, Mr. Baker?