Bad Education (2019) Review


Frank Tassone is a beloved superintendent of New York’s Roslyn school district but his world is about to come crashing down when Pam Gluckin is found to have been stealing funds for many years. This is therefore the unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement in American history.


Being from the UK I can safely say that before watching this film I had no idea about the scandal or who Frank Tassone actually was, I am sure this will be different for people watching from the US? Or at the very least those from New York, as I imagine this was a very hugh story when breaking.

Quite incredible when you realise a lot of the information that is unfolded was done so by a young student reporter named Rachel Bhargava who was attempting to be noticed by others on the school paper. As she was just given one small task within her article she delved deeper and began to uncover money related outgoings.

Pam Gluckin is the beginning of the downfall and the scandal coming out when her son Jimmy uses an expense card for the school to buy a lot of building materials from different stores and a staff member notices the card who just so happens is a relative of Bob Spicer. This is the beginning of the end and to begin with Tassone attempts to get the school board to cover it all up, putting across that he is just as shocked as everyone else. That was far from the actual case considering he was very much involved as well. But I have to admit as a viewer it created a lot of doubt and I actually wasn’t sure if he was involved or not!

Tassone had done wonders for the school district and they really had worked hard to help out the students and give them the best possible options for the future and getting them into top colleges. That is what made it all even worse really, as he pretty much knew all of the students and what they wanted to do next so appearing to care more than anything. But surely all a ploy to get the donations and money into the system.

Rachel continues to look through evidence of the embezzlement in the form of supply orders that were never fulfilled and fees paid to unknown companies. Revealing that a Manhattan apartment where she sees Frank going into after having already knocked on the door and owned by Tom Tuggiero. The man that is Frank’s long-time partner, who is co-conspirator to the scheme. This also reveals Frank hiding his personal life as we had heard him mention his wife dying before this.

When you think about it this is hard to accept that they managed to get away with it for so many years without anyone noticing at all. So it confirms that if you bring success to an area and everything seems to be positive that you are less likely to be doing something wrong and illegal? Well, that is what this feels and looks like anyway.

The films relies very heavily on the performance from Hugh Jackman and he is outstanding in this film. I was very impressed with what he does within this one and it is another type of performance where he has really managed to show off his acting ability. Taking on a rather sleazy character while also adding in a little bit of charm was very good to watch. In terms of support Allison Janney does not have a lot of screen time but she is very good when on screen. Ray Romano is the same, isn’t it fantastic to see the roles he has been getting in very recent times! Then Geraldine Viswanathan as Rachel was engaging and pretty much the most important character within the film.

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