The Race to Nowhere

Yesterday I talked about curiosity in science teaching, and included a brief movie of images that were designed to help us think about inquiry and creativity in science teaching.

I was checking my blog list last night, and I noticed on The Cool Cat Teacher blog an entry that showed a trailer for a new movie to be previewed later this month entitled the Race to Nowhere. Showing today in NYC and LA, this independent film is a documentary about the pressures that students face in today’s test oriented, and performance-based school culture. According to the filmmaker, Vicki Abeles, the documentary is a film:

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country 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 Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

The film’s title questions the wisdom of the Race to the Top Fund that pitted each state against each other in a competition for $4.5 billion. Unfortunately, there were only 12 “winners,” in the Race to the Top, as seen in the map below.  States that applied for The Race to the Top Fund were asked to advance reforms in the following four areas:

The film The Race to Nowhere will certainly raise questions about the Race to the Top, as judged by the trailer from the film. I also recommend that you visit the film’s website here, and explore the focus of the film, and who was behind the development of the film. Nationwide screenings begin at the end of September.

Winners and Losers in the Race to the Top

About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University.