by Lydia Seaman
Continuing WHS’ commitment to addressing and understanding student stress, the documentary Race to Nowhere will be screened at 7 p.m. on April 28 in the Auditorium, four years after it was first screened in Westfield. As with the first showing, the documentary aims to relieve student stress and change education for the better.
According to racetonowhere.com, the documentary shares heartbreaking stories from educators and parents of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling and over-testing. Race to Nowhere examines the downside of the current education system, such as cheating, stress-related illness, depression and burnout. Thus, the system leaves young people unprepared and uninspired when they arrive at college and the workplace.
The documentary was created to better support students’ educational development. Race to Nowhere also teaches the value of allowing kids to fail and to learn through mistakes, according to BOE member Ms. Rosanne Kurstedt.
Said junior Corinne Petersen, who is involved in the event, “Race To Nowhere received a very positive reaction after the first screening, and [four] years later, we need a refresher… It's so easy to aspire to change, and then slip back into old habits.”
According to BOE member Ms. Ruth Maloney, the quiet study room at WHS and the recent homework policy revisions both came out of discussions that followed the original 2010 screening. However, there are still students and parents who feel more needs to be done to alleviate student stress.
“It is an ongoing national conversation revolving around the purpose of education and our achievement-driven culture,” said Maloney. Immediately after the screening, discussions will be held in designated classrooms.
“The messages presented in Race to Nowhere are complex, and therefore, the reactions will be...based on individual experiences and/or perspectives,” said Kurstedt.
The documentary screening is sponsored by the PTSO and is open to anyone in the community, free of charge.