Monday, July 22, 2013

Inspirational Summer Viewing: Race to Nowhere

"I'm afraid that our children are going to sue us for stealing their childhoods"

I have a theory about AP testing, though it is still mostly a question that has yet to be answered. I haven't, and don't plan to argue it with the cyber pedagogue pundits, but I have always wondered if the extent to which students sacrifice themselves for the sake of the almighty AP test is worth it. Feel free to comment as you wish if you are convinced one way or another.

Four good friends of mine have argued in favor of the AP slavery, but they also all were top-of-the-class ivy leaguers (a prereq for being my friend). I have yet to hear the testimonial of someone who regrets giving all they did for the sake of the AP, or the IB, or whatever, but I am convinced they are out there, and this highly recommended movie is what makes me so confident: RACE TO NOWHERE (I learned about this film from the book "How Children Succeed" buy Paul Tough, another must-read to be blogged later).

There is a related news segment from CNN on the topic and the movie itself, also worth 6 minutes of your time (especially if you don't watch the whole movie).

Or... if you have poor connection quality, give this article from the Washington Post a go.

How to see the actual film: I'm not totally sure of the answer to this question. They do have viewings occasionally and you can check the website for those. Otherwise, your options are to buy the dvd ($30) or buy a huge package containing rights and a dvd. (same link). I'll be honest, the version I watched was on loan and had Chinese subtitles at the bottom, which is unfortunate not only because I don't read Chinese, but because a film like this should be more readily available. You could show this blog to a couple teachers and get them together at your house then "pass the hat". I don't know, you'll think of something.

Also related: I believe this film also references the book, "The Case Against Homework" by Sarah Bennett and Nancy Kalish. I don't recommend this book because you get the point after reading the first few pages. You especially get the point, if you read this pdf file that sums up all the main points.

With most documentaries or books making an argument about something societal, there is a counterargument and twitter blows up with haters and experts etc.. In the case of this film and book, there is very minimal to say against it. The film/book never promotes a "no homework" or "hard work is overrated policy" at all. Instead, they promote being aware of why and how much and suggest that in recent years we have pushed the "AP mentality" all the way down to kindergarten, which is like adding plates to the weight bench before the kid has learned to lift the bar.

You could be the first hater! If so, leave it in the youtube comment section, not this one. If not, give it a try and see what you learn.

Footnote* also this tweet. 

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