“There is a dark side to America’s achievement culture,” says filmmaker Vicki Abeles, and her film, The Race to Nowhere, is at the forefront of a movement geared on mobilizing families, educators and policy makers to challenge the educational status quo in America.
The film takes an insider look at the stories of overscheduled young people, burned out teachers and well-intended, over-involved parents that are engaged in what Abeles calls, “The Race to Nowhere,” the destination of youth lost in an educational model that is more focused on outcomes that individual student learning.
AP/Honors students are focused on acquiring high GPA’s, an arm’s length of activities and awards so that they will look good on their college application. But, what are they missing in the total experience of high school if they are being pushed hard and fast through this system that doesn’t acknowledge their interests or abilities?
If you think that this epidemic only affects High School students, you are wrong. Case in point, the little league parent that pushes their kid so hard he cried when he didn’t catch the ball, and the coaches weren’t any better in teaching the boys to cheat so that they would win. Every parent is hoping for a scholarship and preparation starts earlier and earlier, robbing even elementary level students of their childhood experiences.
A troubling film, “The Race to Nowhere” seems to leave almost every child left behind from teaching the test to preparing kids not for college, but the college application. Who cares about critical thinking, autonomy or compassion; our kids need to get into good schools, get on the team, stop riding the bench, excel, succeed, win! Really?
Is your child part of the epidemic where anything goes to succeed, make honor roll and star on the football team? The levels of stress, depression and burnout fail to prepare children as bright, healthy and engaged individuals within the work force.
Abeles, actually claims that the opposite is true and our children are turning into disengaged, apathetic perfectionists who can’t meet their own expectations, let alone their parents, turning to prescription drugs and other recreational debauchery to let off steam. Is this the worst case scenario or par for the course?
You can view clips or check for specific dates, times and venues of showings at www.racetonowhere.com.
Maybe you would like say a few words on the subject, no dissertations necessary. Are your children over scheduled, over burdened and over stressed with their education, extra-curricular activities and organization involvements? Are you pushing them or are they pushing themselves? Is it a service or a handicap to their future?