Education Film Series Wraps Up with "The Race to Nowhere"

Thursday, March 31 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – As graduation looms around the corner, many students are feeling like the race is on for the finish. But just exactly what is that race and where is it going?

The University of Idaho and Washington State University colleges of education will be discussing that metaphor with the film “The Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture” on April 14 as a wrap up in the Rethinking Education film series.

“It’s important to take a look at national debates about schools as we prepare our students to teach a new generation of students,” said Cori Mantle-Bromley, University of Idaho College of Education dean. “We need to make sure our students have the tools, understanding and preparation for today’s classrooms.”

The film will be shown at 6 p.m. in Washington State University’s Compton Union Building auditorium. The film will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by A.G. Rud, dean of the WSU College of Education. Panelists will include Erik Perryman, an assistant principal, and Charlene Jakich, a counselor, both from Moscow High School; and Lali McCubbin, an associate professor of counseling psychology at WSU. Pullman High School students will be on hand to share their perspectives.

Filmmaker Vicki Abeles is hoping to start a grassroots effort to change what she considers to be the status quo with her film. After watching her child sent to the emergency room due to a stress-induced illness as a result of school pressures, Abeles thought it was time to raise awareness.

“I saw the strain in my children as they navigated days filled with school, homework, tutoring and extracurricular activities,” said Abeles. “But it wasn’t until the crisis of my 12-year-old daughter being diagnosed with a stress induced illness that I was determined to do something.”

Realizing the power of cinema, Abeles took up a camera and began working with film professionals to tell the story of students across the country who have been “pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids.”

“Childhood has become indentured to test scores, performance and competition. We face an epidemic of unhealthy, disengaged, unprepared kids trying to manage as best they can,” said Abeles.

In addition to parents and students, “The Race to Nowhere” features such education experts as Madeline Levine, clinical psychologist and author of "The Price of Privilege"; Kenneth Ginsburg, adolescent medicine specialist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Deborah Stipek, dean of the School of Education at Stanford University.

The film and panel are free to the public. Earlier films in the Rethinking Education series were “Waiting for Superman” and “The Lottery.”

For more information, contact Melissa Saul,
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit