- The “Race to Nowhere” film highlights the problems in our schools and the stress students face in high-pressure academics.
“Every once in awhile a film comes along that has the potential to change a culture.”
“Race to Nowhere is an education film that gets it.”
- Our children are in a race to
- Be the Smartest
- Test the highest
- Achieve the most
- The pressure comes from the parents, colleges, and the government; but, in the race to be smart—our kids are paying a price with
- Dreading school and hating every moment of high school
- Emotional breakdowns
- “School is an enormous pressure on our children, stealing their childhoods. They dedicate their whole lives to their grades—produce, produce, produce! Children spend all night on homework, feeling pressure to do well now so they can get into a good college. Students feel they can’t make mistakes, they have to be smart, and they have to be involved in lots of sports and the arts.
- “Students are pressured to perform, but they are not necessarily pressured to learn deeply and conceptually. Things that get our students to actually think and work together and care are pushed aside—because they take too long. You have a system that is trying to robotocize and mechanize students to be academic competitors and producers.
- “What is that going to mean when we have a whole population of dentists and doctors who have been trained from a script? They are not thinking. Children begin school with creativity and a love of learning, but the schools take it out of them.
- “Teachers are forced to teach to government standards to keep their jobs and get money for the schools. Many decisions are made based on financial gain rather than what is in the best interest of the students.
- “The U.S. needs to rethink how we do schooling. The economic future and well-being of the country depends on our addressing this. We need to define success for kids—something we do together, as a society. Jobs need students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. What does it take to produce a happy, motivated, creative human being?”
- Race to Nowhere Panel Discussion at Stanford University:
“NIMH says depression among high school students across the country has doubled in the last 5 years—concern about money, grades, passing exams, etc. Schools have become a test factory. Tests are not necessarily measuring the kind of learning and retained learning that we want the students to actually have.
“Successful has been so irrevocably tied to notions of material success that we almost need a new language for talking about what makes a healthy kid.
“Students in Finland score the highest in the world. Students start school later; they don’t test all the time; and they do project-based learning. Being a teacher in Finland is a well paid, high-status profession. Teachers are prepared in much greater depth and supported beyond that of the U.S.
“We tie test scores to teachers’ salaries in order to get federal money; so teachers are required to teach to the test.
“Walk into a school and observe what is valued in that school—the first thing you see is the athletic trophy cabinet, and then the honor roll. There are many other things to value among kids who have skills that are not valued.
“The solution to this problem is very complex—but it will be implemented by parents and educators who begin to think differently. Policies and the school system can be changed if we form alliances with one another and advocate for change.”
(Stanford University School of Education Panel Discussion)