I have to admit I had never heard of Bob Bowdon up until about a week ago, but he is something of a media Renaissance man. He has done straight news reporting, assisted with Bloomberg TV’s World Financial Report and pitched satire for the Onion News Network, among other ventures. His most recent endeavor is a documentary on the condition of public education in New Jersey. He was dismayed by his findings. You won’t be pleased, either…and if you think you’re safe because you’re not a resident of the Garden State, think again.
The film opens with a stream of celebrities decrying the horrendously low level of reading proficiency. Only 39% of 8th graders are able to read at the pace they should, by prevailing standards, have achieved at that point. A high degree of math capability is not necessary in order to realize that 39% is well below the pass/fail watermark. But speaking of math, when it comes to that subject, the numbers are even worse than the reading figures.