Plan to attend a free screening of the film sponsored by the PTOs of the Chathams on February 24, 2011 at 7 p.m. at Chatham Middle School. A panel discussion, to include local district administrators and area psychologists, will follow. Register online at http://rtnchathammiddleschool.eventbrite.com/.
A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the high-stakes, high-pressure culture that has invaded our schools and our children’s lives, creating unhealthy, disengaged, unprepared and stressed-out youth. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people in all types of communities who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowherepoints to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace; students are disengaged; stress-related illness and depression are rampant; and many young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.
In a grassroots sensation already feeding a groundswell for change, hundreds of theaters, schools and organizations nationwide are hosting community screenings during a six month campaign to screen the film nationwide. Tens of thousands of people are coming together, using the film as the centerpiece for raising awareness, radically changing the national dialogue on education and galvanizing change.
The Washington Post recently covered a screening of Race to Nowhere: “Riveted to this disturbing tableau were more than 300 parents and educators, including Elise Browne Hughes, 46, who wiped away tears one recent evening in Bethesda while watching the documentary "Race to Nowhere," which is becoming a growing grass-roots phenomenon in the achievement-minded Washington area and beyond. "It's in the culture, and it kind of feeds on itself," said Hughes, a mother of two sons who paid $10 for a ticket and braved the heavy rain to watch the film at Walt Whitman High School. For her and thousands of others nationwide, the film has raised difficult questions about how to raise well-adjusted children at a time when schools seem test-obsessed, advanced classes are the norm and parents worry that their children will not go as far in life as they have.” (Washington Post, 10/7/2010)
Race to Nowhere is also being embraced by educators. “An education film that gets it (No, not ʻSupermanʼ)” was the title of a Washington Post blog by Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University.
Vicki Abeles, first-time filmmaker, was inspired to make Race to Nowhere out of concern for her children. A mother of three and former Wall Street attorney, Abeles awakened to this crisis as her 12-year old daughter was being treated for stress-related illness. She saw personally how the pressures were overwhelming not only to her own kids, but to students everywhere – in every kind of school environment and community.
“As a mother, I experienced the stress firsthand and realized that no one was talking about it,” says Vicki Abeles. “I saw kids who were anxious, depressed, physically ill, checking out, abusing drugs and, worst case, attempting suicide. I felt compelled to speak out about this crisis by making a film and giving voice to the students, teachers, and parents. I wanted to expose a deeper truth about our education system. We are graduating a generation of robo-students, unable to think and work independently, creatively and collaboratively.”
School reform has become an urgent national issue and 2010 is the year of the education film. Race to Nowhere is the only film that shows what is actually happening to our kids as a result of current policies and practices obsessed with testing, performance and competition rather than meaningful teaching and learning. Race to Nowhere finally gives voice to those on the front lines who are most affected by education policies - the students and teachers themselves. Race to Nowhere is the only film to spotlight the intersection of health and education. The film empowers everyone to get involved and take ownership of what’s happening in our schools and communities.
Race to Nowhere is a call to action to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens. After seeing the film, your views on education and childhood will forever be changed
“Every once in a while, a film comes along that has the potential to change the culture,” said New York Times bestselling author Rachel Simmons (Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls). “Race to Nowhere shines a light on the crisis of learning and meaning facing American education. The film is both a call to arms and a beacon of hope, a source of relief and outrage and a way forward for all of us."
For more information, visit: www.racetonowhere.com