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The War on Kids (2009)

 -  Documentary  -  1 June 2009 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 180 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

Shows how American public schools have failed in their mission to provide education, erode the country's democratic foundation by denying the most basic civil rights to youth, and often resemble prisons.

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Storyline

THE WAR ON KIDS shows how American public schools continue to become more dangerously authoritarian. In addition to failing in their mission to provide education, they erode the country's democratic foundation by denying the most basic civil rights to youth and often resemble prisons. Written by Cevin Soling

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

education | youth | school | children | See All (4) »

Taglines:

School is the Enemy

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Documentary

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Not Rated
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Release Date:

1 June 2009 (USA)  »

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$1,500,000 (estimated)
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(black & white archive footage)

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1.85 : 1
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Won Best Educational Documentary at NY International Independent Film and Video Festival 2009. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Valid argument, questionable delivery.
7 December 2012 | by (Minneapolis, MN) – See all my reviews

Last night, upon the recommendation of a friend, my wife and I watched the documentary "The War on Kids." I was planning on writing some sort of detailed response to the film, but it's not necessary. In short, it is a deeply cynical and poorly-constructed film with a rambling message concerning the state of public schools in America. Some of the arguments in the film are valid, albeit neither new nor novel, but the film's producers make no effort to ferret out fact from anecdotal re-tellings, and the discussion falls flat of actually achieving productive discourse. I could go on and on (and on).

In one of the film's more egregious missteps, a lengthy discussion about ADHD and its related pharmacological treatments is erroneously and surreptitiously paired with a historical montage of school shootings. In the same segment, viewers are seamlessly shepherded from an intense conversation about ADHD to a discussion of school shootings and the fact that most school shooters were on psychiatric medication. The point fails (miserably) because each of the shooters in question was being treated for depression using powerful psychoactive drugs. Not ADHD. Not Ritalin or Adderall. The conversation then continues, focusing exclusively on ADHD and the marketing of pharmacological treatments for ADHD. Although both of these points have validity independent of the other, to clumsily pair them only serves to weaken both arguments. Quite frankly, it's also condescending to the viewer to assume that we wouldn't notice (or care enough to comment on) this misleading presentation of information.

So it is with The War on Kids; a bunch of legitimate concerns clouded with so much cynicism and sarcasm that it's hard to imagine that anything productive will come of it.


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