A new documentary, Race to Nowhere, skewers high school students’ overly demanding academic and extracurricular schedules. The result of so much stress, according to the film, is sleep-deprived, time-starved, overtested and, incredibly, under-educated American kids. Students who want to get into the best colleges sign up for extra-curricular activities they don’t enjoy. They enroll in too many Advanced Placement (AP) courses that don’t foster learning as much as they ensure that the kids do well on standardized tests; nonstop studying leads to depression and dropout rates; desperate students cheat, consider suicide and plain old have no fun at all.
An official selection at more than ten national and international film festivals in the past year, Race to Nowhere includes interviews with rueful and rather apologetic college admissions directors and burned-out, frustrated high school teachers. The articulate, exhausted students in the film would truly like to learn (and do a little chllin’) but instead are being taught mainly to excel at test-taking; they can arrive at college woefully unprepared.
The documentary, followed by a panel discussion that includes several child development and education experts with many letters following their names, (including Joel Shapiro, Superintendent of South Pasadena Unified School District, Melissa J. Johnson, Annette Ermshar, Brian Safdari, Founder of College Planning Experts, and Shari Sinwelski) screens next Saturday at the Laemmle. You can get tickets online, and be prepared for a lively discussion afterward that challenges the status quo.
Race to Nowhere Screening
Saturday, May 21, 2011, 10:00 am
Hosted by Fusion Academy and Learning Center
Location: Laemmle Playhouse 7
673 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena
Tickets $10. Click here to purchase online.