The films generally offer simple solutions for the problems they present, and that lets viewers off the hook. Most examples of the genre point to charters and vouchers. Take, for example, The Cartel, which has just hit theaters. According to The Boston Globe, "'The Cartel' leads its audience to what Bowdon [the filmmaker] sees as a promised land of better American education, populated by vouchers and charter schools." Bowden is apparently blissfully untroubled by evidence.Update: A film review by Stephen Whitty begins:
"The Cartel" Movie Review -- Reviewing documentaries used to be so much easier.
Back in the old days — say, pre-Michael-Moore — a critic went to a film, looked at the photography and editing, made a considered judgment and wrote it up. Now you almost have to re-report the thing yourself. Who didn’t the filmmakers interview? What’s the background of the three “experts” with whom they did speak? Who gave them funding? Which facts were left out?It’s exhausting and, practically speaking, nearly impossible...
...So let me state my own biases before I review “The Cartel,” a biased new film about New Jersey public education and some parents’ push for charter-school alternatives.
Years ago, my father attended Jersey City schools, then Rutgers, and got a good education. My two children are in suburban public schools now and get a great education. I know some schoolteachers who are doing terrific jobs.