Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inciteful Movie

If you care at all about the sorry state of American Public Education then you've seen Two Million Minutes and perhaps some of the other films available on that site. You may have seen Waiting for Superman which is available on Netflix's streaming service. Or perhaps you've seen The Lottery.

Perhaps not.

This is not an attempt to encourage viewing these films nor is there any intent to discourage viewing them either. This is about another film, a documentary on how schools really operate. The Cartel. You may be pretty burned out with the cheating scandals, the financial incompetence of DeKalb Schools, charter amendment propaganda or the corrupt operations that have become so ingrained in the system and you just may be over it. To help you gauge whether this is worth ninety minutes of your time that you will never get back, The Other Dunwoody offers a very simple test:
Go online and find these three facts, usually available on your local school system's web site:
  1. Total annual spending 
  2. Total number of students, often called "FTE"
  3. Average number of students per class
Using this information calculate the total amount of money, your tax dollars, that are spent operating the average classroom. 
If this doesn't cause you to immediately re-check your calculations only to confirm the answer and ultimately result in a mouth-agape WTF moment, then don't watch The Cartel. You're part of the problem, not the solution. If you're absolutely shocked at the number this simple calculation yields, then you should invest ninety minutes of your time in a personal, in-home, Netflix powered screening.

If you want to have some real fun, invite a public school apologist over to watch with you. You know the kind, someone so full of the Kool Aid their eyeballs are floating. A teacher at any nearby public school would do nicely. If you're up to even more fun, try to secure a principal, administrator, or the holy grail--a school board member. Now as they watch the movie, you watch their face. Whenever they wince, flinch or frown (not to worry, they won't smile or nod in agreement), hit "Pause". Give them a chance to explain. From the deep end of the Kool Aid pool. Listen politely and take note of any and all excuses but one: "That's some other school (system), not ours. Ours is great." Fact is, as bad the things are that are depicted in this movie, DeKalb Schools are worse.