Race to Nowhere
Race to Nowhere is a close-up look at the pressures on today’s students, offering an intimate view of lives packed with activities, leaving little room for down-time or family time. Parents today are expected to raise high-achieving children, who are good at everything: academics, sports, the arts, community-service. The film tackles the tragic side of our often achievement-obsessed culture, with interviews that explore the hidden world of over-burdened schedules, student suicide, academic cheating, young people who have checked out. RACE TO NOWHERE asks the question: Are the young people of today prepared to step fully and productively into their future? We hear from students who feel they are being pushed to the brink, educators who worry students aren’t learning anything substantive, and college professors and business leaders, concerned their incoming employees lack the skills needed to succeed in the business world: passion, creativity, and internal motivation.
Race to Nowhere is a well-known documentary that really makes you gnash your teeth. It’s again this year’s cause celebre, which is education, certainly a legitimate issue for some scrutiny, and this one really looks at something that may be worth looking at, but it does it in such a cockamamie fashion that you really don’t buy into it for a moment and just really want to say to these kids, oh, you’re so damn privileged you don’t know what’s going on. The idea of overachieving kids feeling stress. Hello. I mean, there really are problems in the world. I’m not sure this is one of them. The issue about homework may be a legitimate one of the idea being that for a time in American school system, there was no homework, and then there was a lot after Sputnik and then people should have calmed down about it. And apparently, the amount of homework picked up again after the No Child Left Behind policies. But the deal is that there’s no correlation really between homework and either achievement on tests or children learning anything, and there is certainly a body of opinion that says that schoolwork should be confined to school, but I think there are other issues about education that are probably more meaningful than this one. Basically, you just got so irritated with sort of the privileged comments that the privileged people in this lifestyle spout. I think it was a mixed-up documentary that is clearly the people who made it felt strongly about it, but man, it certainly doesn’t translate terribly well. I’d give it one star.