The financial crisis ahead gives state lawmakers the chance to reconsider notoriously complicated school spending formulas to get the most out of available resources and to consider alternative options, such as education savings accounts, that put spending decisions in the hands of families.

Editor’s note: This post from redefinED guest blogger Jonathan Butcher published earlier this week on The Federalist.

With students quarantined at home, is this really the right time for a movie about public school fraud? You bet.

After getting an extra $13.5 billion in March’s “Phase 3” stimulus bill, the education lobby is now asking Congress for another $175 billion as it ponders a Phase 4 bill. With that kind of money on the line—about three times Washington’s annual K-12 funding—a film on school fraud should be considered essential viewing.

HBO’s “Bad Education,” released April 25, dramatizes a real-life incident of school funds embezzlement in Roslyn, Long Island. In telling the tale, the film indicts an entire education system, one plagued with a morass of forms to fill out and weak oversight that makes it easy for school bureaucrats to fudge the numbers and pay for a beach house, a sports car, and more.

As the plot unfolds, the school district auditor tells Hugh Jackman’s character that the state comptroller could “barge in this office at any given moment” to review their finances.

“Has he ever done that in your 30 years of experience?” Jackman’s character, district superintendent Frank Tassone, asks. The auditor shakes his head.

“Exactly,” Tassone says.

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