The Crisis | Only 35 percent of American high school seniors are proficient readers. Only 23 percent are proficient in math. Nationwide, only 74 percent of ninth graders graduate within four years—and that number drops to about 50 percent for black and Hispanic students. Twelve percent of American high schools are “dropout factories”—schools where less than 60 percent of freshmen even make it to their senior year. It comes as no surprise, then, that America lags far behind other developed countries when it comes to schooling: Among large industrialized countries, America ranks last in educational effectiveness—despite spending the most.
About The Cartel | Teachers punished for speaking out. Principals fired for trying to do the right thing. Union leaders defending the indefensible. Bureaucrats blocking new charter schools. These are just some of the people we meet in The Cartel. The film also introduces us to teens who can’t read, parents desperate for change, and teachers struggling to launch stable alternative schools for inner city kids who want to learn. We witness the tears of a little girl denied a coveted charter school spot, and we share the triumph of a Camden homeschool’s first graduating class.