Davy was defending New Jersey's school system against the premise of Filmmaker Bob Bowdon's The Cartel, that "public education serves its employees, not its children."
"I would put New Jersey students up against any students in the country on any measure, no matter what it is," state Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, who is interviewed in the film, said this week. "While we have some students not performing at the levels we know they must, New Jersey has many, many high-performing, really outstanding schools."
From the movie's website:
"For at least a generation, American public schools have been growing progressively worse. According to the U.S. Department of Education national testing, only 35% of American high school seniors are proficient in reading. And fewer than one-in-four, 23%, are proficient in math. On the global stage, America ranks last in educational effectiveness among large industrialized countries despite the highest spending per student in the world.
It presents something of a conundrum. How has the richest and most innovative society on earth suddenly lost the ability to teach its children at a level that other modern countries consider "basic"?
If the problem is that we're not spending enough on schools, which many people believe, it's instructive to study the U.S. state that spends more than any other per student: New Jersey
With spending as high as $483,000 per classroom (confirmed by NJ Education Department records), New Jersey students fare only slightly better than the national average in reading and math, and rank 37th in average SAT scores. And not even half of NJ's high school freshmen, despite the state's enormous "investment," are academically ready for college four years later.
Is anyone watching where the money goes? How much actually reaches the classroom? And if certain changes in the system would benefit children, but not necessarily the staff, would the adults running the system endorse those changes?
"The Cartel" investigates what is causing this vast underachievement and what can be done to turn things around. "
That New Jersey's Education system is a broken and corrupt institution that warehouses kids while enriching its employees is so obvious to anyone educated outside of the system that the debate is an insulting fantasy.
Why would the NJEA and the NEA spend millions of members dues (taxpayer dollars ultimately) on advertising,lobbying and political contributions, when they have no competition if what they were about was educating kids rather than enriching themselves? The answer is, they wouldn't.
I applaud Bowdon for making this movie. I also applaud Bob Ingle, who makes a brief appearance in the movie, The Star Ledger, and any other media outlet that brings attention to the movie and the issue, for finally raising awareness and telling the truth about this travesty.
New Jersey's disgraceful education system and its funding should be the number one issue in the up coming gubernatorial campaign. If we reform our education system into an institution that actually educates, that is truly thorough and efficient, we also solve our property tax problem and our urban problems.
Chris Christie has been alone in calling our education system a "moral failure." He is absolutely right about that. The failure is not only in the Abbott districts. It is throughout the system.
If we are going to Save Jersey and save our children, we must address education head on. We must stand up to the NJEA and the rest of the trough swillers of the system make create a system that performs well at a realistic cost. It can be done and it must be done.