GeekMom Amy Kraft wrote awhile back about the crazy-making process of getting her child into the “right” school:
My daughter just started Kindergarten at a New York City public school. The process of getting her there began when she was two years old and I started touring schools, fearing that if I didn’t like any of the possibilities we’d need time to move. The past year has felt like a part-time job, my time filled with tours, applications, and even an essay. Fortunately, we’re zoned for a pretty good school, but children in the zone had previously been waitlisted for reasons of overcrowding. Gifted and talented testing (yes, taking your 4-year-old for a standardized test) can open up more options.
This is just one example of a parent trying to do the best she can do for her child, but I’ve heard this story over and over again. Moms and dads are trying to work with a broken system to help their children thrive. Parents today are expected to raise high-achieving children, skilled in a multitude of talents, all at the highest levels, to respond to today’s tough challenges.
But is this the answer? Bombarded by academic standards, competition for educational opportunities and run-away schedules, young people struggle to accommodate the intense demands. They’re getting stressed. They’re getting ill. And some are committing suicide.
Vicki Abeles became so concerned with the culture of hollow achievement and pressure to perform that has invaded Americaʼs schools that she created a documentary about it. In Race to Nowhere, the mother turned filmmaker suggests that the American education system is destroying our childrenʼs love of learning and feeding an epidemic of unprepared, disengaged, and unhealthy students.
I’m crossing my fingers that this film will make its way to my local, independent movie theater, but I’ve added it to my Netflix queue just in case.