Thursday night at Whitman-Hanson High school, local residents viewed “Race to Nowhere”, a documentary by filmmaker Vicki Abeles which reveals the damaging effects of America’s overachieving culture on young students. The Whitman-Hanson Education Foundation sponsored the event as Part 1 of a two-part education innovation forum.
Viewers were able to openly discuss their opinions about the documentary to filmmaker Abeles.
One local resident agreed that school systems need to cut back on student workloads and promote healthier lifestyles emotionally and physically, “I think that coaches, teachers, and employers have an obligation to their students or employees to insist they get eight hours of sleep at night, to insist they not create artificial pressures around them that destroy them.”
Abeles asked parents to refrain from pressuring their children about completing homework and doing well on tests. Instead she encourages students to have active lives outside of school to relieve stress. She also stated that heavy workloads, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities can lead to teen depression or even suicide.
School Committee Chair Bob Hayes encouraged parents to get more involved if they want to see a change, “Attend the meetings. Come to the meetings. Have a say in what goes on in the school day whether it be the start of school, the end of school, the bus schedule, the education, the curriculum, whatever it is. Come to the meetings, have a say.”
Part 2 of the forum will take place next month and presents author Tony Wagner.