June 4, 2014

Yesterday, in the HUFFINGTON POST, (“How a No-Homework Curriculum changed my Parenting,” by Karri-Leigh P. Mastrangelo”), we find our introduction to today’s blog:

“It seems like just weeks ago that we attended Back to School Night. . . .

After a great amount of research and consideration (blah, blah, blah), the kindergarten through fourth grade curriculum would no longer include daily homework assignments. Once in fifth grade, the practice would be slowly introduced in preparation for middle school. . . .

Next up was a preview of Vicki Abeles’ documentary Race to Nowhere: Transforming Education from the Ground Up which we were all encouraged to watch in full (I recommend the same to you), and a list of suggested resources. My husband and I not only watched the film, but also purchased literature written by some of the experts featured within it.

We were ready. . . .”

I first encountered this parent-inspired movement several years ago upon recommendation from one of my daughters. After visiting the the movie’s website: www.racetonowhere.com I checked the schedule and found it slated for a Northern Virginia Community Center. And see it, I did!

It is a film that every parent, teacher, school administrator and politician should see! “Race to Nowhere” will open your eyes! It will give you insight into the great not-so-hidden dangers inherent in “No Child Left Behind” and Standardized Testing!

John Merrow of PBS fame, scholar in residence at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford, winner of two Peabody awards and three Emmy nominations has written (“The Blog for the HUFFINGTON POST”):

“’Race to Nowhere’ spreads the blame around. No Child Left Behind, bubble tests, too much mind-numbing homework and – yes – parents who are more concerned with their own social status than with the health and well-being of their children. One counselor recalls hearing mothers at a mall boasting about how well their children are doing, adding that she knows better because she is treating their kids.

‘Race to Nowhere’ conveys important messages with power. Our obsession with test scores is dangerous and counterproductive. When parents and schools treat young people like automatons, they not only kill their childhood, but they are not preparing them to lead healthy adult lives. In what is almost a throwaway moment, one employer says that these young adults make lousy employees because they’re always waiting to be told what to do. Throwaway or not, it’s shockingly effective.

. . . I urge you to see it if it’s playing near you – or you can request and schedule a screening in your area. This film’s message should be taken to heart.”

If you haven’t already, I hope you will be fortunate enough to attend a screening of “Race to Nowhere!” As a parent or grandparent, it will be well worth your time!

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com