By David Marquez
The Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition will sponsor the inaugural local screening of the film, “The Race to Nowhere” on Monday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Crescenta Valley High School auditorium. The event is a fundraiser for the Coalition. Advance online tickets are $10, $15 at the door. http://rtncvdapc.eventbrite.com.
This much talked about documentary about the impact of academic and parental pressure upon a student’s well-being has made the rounds around the nation. At least in my circle of friends and families it has stirred much discussion. I’ve lost count on the number of conversations where I’ve found myself discussing “The Race to Nowhere.” Inevitably after a parent brings up the topic of academic workload or his or her quest to restore balance in their child’s life, someone chimes in with a review of the film. Then I begin to yearn for a simpler time.
I recall as a junior high student folding my homework into my back pocket before heading back home on my bike from school. Later on, in high school, my homework no longer fit into my back pocket but I didn’t need a backpack to carry my homework home. Now, it is not unusual to see an elementary school student in the morning hauling away a roll-away back pack from his or her parent’s car to the classroom.
I don’t remember spending several hours every night on my homework. I do remember, however, spending two months trying to finish the “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Also, I remember art and music classes. I recall getting on the bus and traveling to other schools to compete in after-school sports. We are, however, in a different era.
Reminiscing about the “Wonder Years” does us no good. Our youth and their families face different challenges to meet the demands of a changing global economy. Consequently, the strategy to strike a balance between academic and non-academic work and play for the sake of our child’s well-being requires a different analysis and approach.
Everyone who values education has an opinion on what we need to do. This is good. We need to spread ideas around. Some say increase performance standards, and lengthen the school year. Others argue that we should ease our foot off the gas pedal, slow down and introduce other activities beyond the three “R”s. Personally, at the local level I feel our schools do a great job to create a support system for our youth. Conversely, I am cognizant that academic standards and educational policies come from the top, and we must always strive to stay informed on what is happening. The “Race to Nowhere” offers a serious view on the current educational system. I believe it is worth a look.