The Race to Nowhere is a film that will make you think deeply about what a good education looks like. It will challenge your beliefs about the nature of homework, AP classes, and college preparation. You will re-think what a “successful kid” should do in middle school, high school, and college because, in many ways, what we as a society think about that fundamental question is dead wrong.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, or administrator, this is a must-see documentary because it points out some very powerful flaws in our educational system and offers some good solutions. Unlike other recent films about American schools, it does not demand more from students, parents, and teachers; in many ways it asks for less. It will get you thinking and talking.
There are more screenings popping up around the country, and it will eventually be a DVD to purchase. Check it out.
If this trailer resonates with you, and you’d like a greater sense of what this movie is all about, here is what the filmmakers suggest parents do in response to their film:
Discuss what success means to your family. Do your actions as a family reflect your values?
Reduce performance pressure.
Allow time for play, family, friends, downtime and sleep.
Ask your children how they are feeling.
Allow your children to make mistakes and learn from them.
Dialogue with your children about their experiences in school.
Know the signs of childhood depression. Follow your instincts.
Attend school board meetings and other venues where education is discussed and policies are established and reinforced.
Form alliances and organize other parents to join you. As a group, talk to your children’s teachers, school administrators, and attend School Board meetings.
Challenge accepted homework practices and policies and the imposition of state and national standards that have narrowed curriculum.
Advocate for a later start time in high school.
Eat dinner regularly as a family.
Make college search about finding the “right fit” rather than finding the “best” college. Finding the “right fit” will ensure college success and retention.