Friday, March 4, 2011

St. Gregory Hosts Community Screening of "Race to Nowhere"

On Thursday, March 3,  St. Gregory College Preparatory School in Tucson, Arizona hosted a community screening of the film Race to Nowhere.  The two-hour documentary the New York Times calls a "must see....alter ego to the better-known Waiting for Superman, examines how today's educational system is primarily driven by testing results, rather than by the quest for a quality, well-rounded educational experience for our students.

The idea for the film was born when its director, Vicki Abeles, found herself in endless battles with her children over homework. As she became increasingly concerned about how overwhelmed they were from the pressure to perform and live up to testing demands, Ms. Abeles began conversations with parents and students in her immediate community. Later, she traveled across the country to hear from parents, students, and medical/mental health experts who were having similar experiences in their own communities.

The result of these cross-country conversations is a compelling film that prompts its viewers to examine the current norm in our educational culture, the pressure it is placing on our students to produce, and how the social and emotional well being of our children is profoundly impacted.

A panel of Tucson area education experts and advocates led a community discussion following the film.  Panel members included:

  • Malika Johnson, Director of College Counseling at St. Gregory
  • Michelle Berr, History Department Chair at St. Gregory
  • George Davis, former University of Arizona provost and former University of Vermont president
  • Ann-Eve Pedersen, Board President, Arizona Education Network
  • Eve Rifkin, Principal, City High School
  • Barry Bedrick, head of St. Michael's Parish Day School

Discussion between audience and panel members highlighted small points of disagreement with the film's portrayal of the educational environment. However, all were concerned that the current culture of testing is corrosive, not only to the educational experiences parents want for their children but to our country's access to critical and imaginative thinkers, inventors, and leaders in a global economy.

To learn more about this film or to inquire about hosting a screening in your community, visit here.

"Race to Nowhere:" It's no "Waiting for Superman" but it's Honest ~ John Merrow, Huffington Post October 2010

Parents Embrace "Race to Nowhere," on Pressures of School ~ New York Times, December 2010

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