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Race to Nowhere.

Vicki Abeles was shocked when she realized just how much stress and academic pressure much of America's youth is under. As a reaction, she decided to make a documentary featuring several of these stressed-out kids along with overworked teachers and parents who are just trying to do the right thing for their children. "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," says the 85-minute film's website.

Abeles doesn't want her movie to be an expose, though--she wants it to be a call to action. "Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens."

It's difficult to express feelings about being caught in a pressure cooker, especially for adolescents and teens. It takes a lot of courage to tell a personal story of struggle, of overcoming adversity, of giving up because they are overwhelmed by the quantity of work or lack of relevancy of the education that are receiving.

What finally emerged is a close-up look at the unintended consequences of the achievement-obsessed way of life that permeates American education and culture. Young people are our most valuable resource. In them lie our future scientists, doctors, lawyers, legislators, teachers, nurses and parents. They will be the stewards of our communities, our nation, and our planet. By forcing developing minds into a one-size-fits-all mold of learning, we are shortchanging the vast diversity and vibrancy of our country.

-Vicki H. Abeles, Race to Nowhere director (

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Title Annotation:What They're Saying
Author:Abeles, Vicki H.
Publication:Curriculum Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2010
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