Teresa M. Pelham
5:29 PM EST, December 12, 2012
Just about two years ago I was assigned to write a story on “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary highlighting the culture of testing and stress happening in American schools. I brought my then-14-year-old son to the screening.
We were both moved and freaked out by what we saw, and decided during the 15-minute car ride home to look into schools that focus more on learning and less on testing. He left the public school system a few months later, and although the Husband will probably not get a new car until 2024, today we’re happily living without Advanced Placement classes.
Many people missed the local screenings of “Race to Nowhere.” The idea was to bring communities together to view the film in order to open a discussion about what is happening to our kids during the high school years. But it’s now available on DVD. Click right here to find out more. The people behind the documentary are still pushing the group viewing aspect, which is pretty cool. Maybe your book club or PTO could purchase the video, and those who see it can share their thoughts immediately after watching.
As a footnote, I actually saw it twice, and the post-movie discussions couldn’t have been more different. Even though both schools that hosted the screenings were nearly identical in many ways, one school allowed for a natural, casual group conversation, while the other framed the talk in a way that diminished the film’s message. My guess is the second school district had heard about the potential backlash among parents.
If you see it, please share your thoughts. I’d love to know what you think. And if you host a screening, I’ll bring the chardonnay.