The Providence Effect

Film
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Swooning but shallow, this doc plays like a promotional commercial for Providence St. Mel, a private school on Chicago’s impoverished West Side that sends 100 percent of its graduates on to college. As the academy attempts to transplant its hands-on, zero-tolerance formula to a public charter school, filmmaker Rollin Binzer finds teachers, pupils and alumni eager to tout the school’s methods. But there’s no meaningful dissection of what sets these classrooms apart, or how its disciplinary and teachers’ union troubles find resolution. We’re happy for the departing seniors, but clueless as to how Providence got through to some and not others.

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