The Cartel is a documentary that discusses the problems in education administration. It is definitely a pointed argument, but it is also a convincing argument. It takes a look at American education and describes how it has been corrupted by the teacher unions.
The documentary shows how private education is controlled by a monopoly of investors who are able to benefit from maintaining the status quo. Bow Bowden, the writer and producer, does good investigative reporting and shows example after example of why "dropout factories" remain in tact. He points not to curriculum or the students but to the policy makers and the interests of the teacher unions. Not to spoil the video, but I will review the key points made below:
- Public Funding: We often hear political rhetoric about spending more on education. The funding is there but it is not being handled properly. Taxpayer dollars are coming up missing and no one seems to be held accountable.
- The Bureau: District offices for education are large, who employ people with high salaries and are often dominated by nepotism and corrupt practice. The districts are too small (there are too many districts which means higher costs and and more employees to do the same jobs). They do not directly influence the teaching of children.
- The Voucher: The voucher system is a system in which the students receive a "scholarship" to attend any school they would like. In essence schools will receive public funding but the government will not be (directly) involved in its administration.
- Charter Schools: Privately ran institutions that apply for public funding to more or less compete with the existing public schools. When the Charter Schools out-perform public schools, the pressure is on public administration (so they tend to deny charters for a high percentage of applicants).
- It is kind of like having Pepsi write a letter of application to Coca-Cola for the purpose of competeing with them. Of Course Coca-Cola is going to say "no" you can't compete with us. That is a simplified version of what is happening with Charters.
The administration of education is a mess. It makes teaching/learning/schooling unnecessarily difficult for everyone (teachers, students, parents, administrators, everyone involved)
Funding for education and paying teachers more are separate issues. This can be illustrated by looking at dollars spent per child and comparing that to other countries. The fact is we spend much more but do not perform as well.
MONEY IS NOT THE ANSWER. Throwing money at a problem (regardless of the problem) will not fix it. Richard Byrnes said it best when talking about money being spent on Technology. He speaks on buying ipads, but the idea is the same. Spending money will not fix the problem. How many times have we seen expensive technologies sit in a media center because the teachers do not know they exist or how to use them. A compass will not help a man who doesn't understand it.
Let me know what you think:
- Have you seen the movie? Are you going to?
- Is the movie credible? Do you agree with the stance it takes?