Friday, February 11, 2011

Race To Nowhere

I wanted to share a link to a film, Race to Nowhere, I watched with some friends last night at Haddonfield High School. It was a powerful film about the effects of the demanding educational standards parents, teachers, colleges have on some kids. It looked closely at what kids are doing to their bodies to keep up with not only their academics, but also their religious classes, sports and community work. Stating that kids don't get into good school just because of academics. They need to be almost perfect at everything in order to be considered at some colleges.
A large part of the movie was devoted to the research that did not support hours and hours of homework. Yet, homework seemed to be the single thread that was stressing the kids out and causing them to take stimulants, not sleep and cheat. The film also looked at what these kids were learning. Many kids pointed out they can't remember what information they learned on tests or homework because they just needed to "cram it in and then let it out". Doctors and lawyers spoke about how the young adults coming into their profession can't think. They are so used to being "coached". This was a scary thought for them because who will be the leaders in their professions if no one is thinking.
I took a lot away from this film as a Mommy. "What homework do you have tonight?", will not be the first thing out of my mouth when I greet my 2nd grader anymore! As a teacher, I am looking into my homework practices. Two books about the homework topic in the film.
Librarians have a role in adding inquiry into their collaborative projects. Leading the way to show the importance of critical thinking for our students not simple recall.
It was quite a powerful film. Please leave a comment if you have seen the film and it moved you as well.