A newly released documentary called ‘The Cartel’ provides compelling evidence of the destructive nature of public education bureaucracies on both state budgets as well as student achievement. The documentary provides statistics and detailed information about several New Jersey school districts throughout the state as well as a broader focus state-wide and nation-wide. Whereas ‘Waiting for Superman’ has received mixed reviews, with teachers and educators being particularly critical, it will be interesting to see how educators respond to this new documentary.
‘The Cartel’ is currently not available in theatres as ‘Waiting for Superman’ has been. Therefore, the work may suffer from lack of public awareness. For more information, or to get your own copy of the documentary, a visit to TheCartelMovie.com will give browsers a chance to order the DVD for themselves. DVDs for public screening can be purchased in addition to those for home use.
In contrast to New Jersey, Arizona has remained a front-runner in the nation for school choice. ‘The Cartel’ drives home the constant reality that in a nation founded on freedom of choice as a major part of the Amercian Tradition, too many parents find themselves pigeon-holed into putting their children into public/district schools because no other choice is available. Fortunately, for most Arizona children, particularly those in urban and sub-urban areas, there is a plethora of school choice. Private schools, charter schools, district schools offering open enrollment, and even a few magnet schools are available for parents to decide for themselves what is best for their children.
However, many aspects of the documentary that depict the stranglehold the governmental bureaucracies have with regards to education are remarkably similar in several aspects between New Jersey and Arizona. The most general aspect that most states have in common is with regards to funding. Children are used as shields in nearly every case where legislation involving tax increases or targeting budget cuts is concerned. All too often the machine that is the eduacation lobby is far too strong, and far too well funded to defeat in open polls. Take Prop 100 that passed in May of 2010. The slogan and sound-bites that ran included, “Isn’t your child worth half a cent?” and what’s worse, anyone in the general public that doesn’t want their taxes raised is demonized because they obviously aren’t supportive of education interests. Parents who speak out publically may find they are treated differently by school officials, or their children suffer in ways that smell of retaliation.
Indeed, the system is not perfect. Arizonans can be thankful that the cronyism that is rampant in New Jersey is nowhere near as high here. The existence of alternative schools, the ability for parents to home school if they wish, and a voucher system that creates an open enrollment environment is probably just what the doctor ordered for massive improvement in New Jersey. Arizona already has these and it has made a significant difference in district schools that have stepped it up and improved a great deal as well.