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Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The Cartel shows us our educational system like we've never seen it before. Behind every dropout factory, we discover, lurks a powerful, entrenched, and self-serving cartel. But The Cartel doesn't just describe the problem. Balancing local storylines against interviews with education expertsThe Cartel shows us our educational system like we've never seen it before. Behind every dropout factory, we discover, lurks a powerful, entrenched, and self-serving cartel. But The Cartel doesn't just describe the problem. Balancing local storylines against interviews with education experts such as Clint Bolick (former president of Alliance for School Choice), Gerard Robinson (president of Black Alliance for Educational Options), and Chester Finn (president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute), The Cartel explores what dedicated parents, committed teachers, clear-eyed officials, and tireless reformers are doing to make our schools better for our kids. (Moving Picture Institute) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. 88
    Few documentaries have covered such an important matter so convincingly and with such clarity. When it comes to public education, we are all New Jerseyans.
  2. Although it’s refreshing to see a movie that stands up for charter schools and takes on teachers unions for their hammerlock on educational oversight, Bowdon overcorrects. His home state of New Jersey may not be an isolated case but neither, with its high level of corruption, should it be seen as altogether representative of all countrywide educational ills.
  3. A brisk, incisive and mind-boggling -- no other phrase will work -- exposé of his native New Jersey's public education system.
  4. 50
    The doc has won a host of awards at film festivals and it is a policy wonk's dream of a movie, but it is dry, statistic-laden viewing that is unlikely to attract much attention beyond education circles.
  5. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    50
    A lopsided whine about the state of American public schools, The Cartel is a lesson in dichotomous documaking: Effervescent and tedious, crusading and craven, it's a prime example of that ubiquitous oxymoron: the agenda-driven "expose."
  6. Purports to be a documentary about the American public school system. In reality, however, it’s a bludgeoning rant against a single state — New Jersey — which it presents as a closed loop of Mercedes-owning administrators, obstructive teachers’ unions and corrupt school boards.
  7. After decades of endless policy debates, you’d think fixing America’s schools would be a complex endeavor. But apparently not--at least according to this tunnel-vision editorial.

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