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'Race to Nowhere' is showing tonight at Valley Community Church

Original post made on Nov 9, 2012

"Race to Nowhere," an award-winning documentary that highlights the unintended consequences of our pressure-cooker culture and education system, will be shown in Pleasanton at 6:30 p.m. tonight, sponsored by the Amador Valley High School PTSA Wellness Committee and the AVHS Challenge Success Team. The screening will take place at Valley Community Church, 4455 Del Valle Parkway. The event is open to the community.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 9, 2012, 4:57 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Parents, do not waste your time with this program. If you need help in understanding your child's limits, go get counseling and parent education. Every failure/crisis/breakdown in this movie can be diagnosed as a parenting failure to understand that every child is not Ivy League bound. Just because our education system has programs and classes for the high achiever, does not mean they are appropriate for your child.
Parents, you are responsible for your child's upbringing and preparing them for being an adult. Get your children on the 'Path to Somewhere'.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

I have an issue with this Race to Nowhere stuff.

OK, so you tell high school students to stop being so competitive, then what? Colleges STILL EXPECT AP classes, high GPAs, extracurricular activities, etc. Are you suggesting then that everyone needs to stop being college bound? If you are going to change the system, you need to start with the universities... tell the UCs to lower their standards and/or requirements. Until then, leave high schoolers and their parents alone, stop promoting non-competitive behavior because that will hurt students' chances of admission into good universities.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2012 at 9:24 am

"Are you suggesting then that everyone needs to stop being college bound?"

Not everyone. Some people should go to college, others should not. There are trade schools, community colleges, state colleges, universities, and private colleges. One size does not fit all. Not everyone should aspire for PHD from Harvard or MIT.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Nov 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks John. My thoughts exactly. Although you did leave out music schools, dance schools, apprenticeship in the trades, military, store owner, restaurant owner, etc., etc., etc.

The career world is much larger than professions requiring college degrees. I wish high schools would stop pushing it. The goal of high school should be to prepare kids for the adult world, not for college.

There is nothing wrong with maturing a bit after high school too. Work a job and understand why you want to go back to school. Maybe you'll find out that life is good without it, or maybe you'll find out that you want to go.

I went to college right after high school, but almost all of the successful people in my life (who make more money than me!), either never went to college, or went in their 30's.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

" One size does not fit all."

No one is saying that. High schools in Pleasanton already offer plenty of classes/academies for the students who are not college bound. No one is forcing students to sign up for honors or AP classes. This race to nowhere is targeting parents of high achieving students, and personally, I am not interesed and no one I know is either.

I think each parent and each student should decide the path they want to take, and high schools already offer plenty for everyone. Graduation standards are very low, just minimum stuff required to graduate high school. But the college bound students should continue to have opportunities available so they can continue to be competitive when applying for college.

We have been told so far that ranking is going away because it "stresses" people out. I think this is nonsense. Top universities request rankings, and the students who are not college bound probably do not care how they rank, so why do away with it?

California is already at the bottom as far as education goes, why try to make it even worse?


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

I agree that there is too much stress being placed on our kids to be outstanding students, star athletes, and to show "focus and leadership" in their area of passion (how many 15 year olds even know what that is?)

That said, I also see a lot of kids (especially caucasion kids) intentionally stepping off the fast track of APs, etc. because it's just too much work to compete with the top students -- they don't want to "act asian". They don't even shoot for UC's; they expect to go to CSU. And very few bother to inform themselves about private and out of state colleges that tend to be more forgiving and often offer all kinds of scholarships(ie you can go to University of Alabama for almost free if you have certin test scores).

Why not encourage our kids to shoot higher in the subjects they are good at? We push them hard to excel on the sports field -- take them to clinics and practices, and spend lots of time worrying if they'd be better at baseball or lacrosse or water polo, but won't ask them to devote the same kind of time and mental energy to excel in an academic area. We should ask ourselves why not.


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Posted by Helen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Teens are told all the time they have to prepare for getting into a 4 year college. Yet not all need to go that route to become a happy, productive citizen. Some choose to go to vocational training, community college, the military, etc. These are good plans for some kids'futures and these kids should feel just as successful and valued as kids who go to an Ivy League, UC or CSU.

The expectation is that every kid will leave PUSD being ready to do well in college. This probably is a good goal for most teens in our community. However to get into 4 colleges, there are so many hoops they have to jump through. They are fighting for top GPAs and high college exam scores. They must also excel in sports, be a leader, participate in club, etc. Yet they are still are teenagers dealing with growing up.

GO SEE THE FILM and see what middle and high school students are experiencing. Then hug your kids and grandkids as they need your support and understanding!


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

In South Korea, the government is openly discouraging kids from going to college.

Web Link


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

An interesting review of the film Race to Nowhere:

"Too bad Ms. Abeles misses the mark. Indeed, the holes in this earnest film uncover the very problem she's trying to address: a failure of critical thinking. Ms. Abeles is so determined to drive home her narrative, pushing our emotional buttons with a leaden hand, that we're tempted to discard our rational reservations along the way. So let's pause for a moment and examine the film's central arguments and methodology."

"Flashing photos of famous college drop-outs as evidence that some successful people don't go to college is also tired and misleading. She implies that a college education is superfluous, and indeed it is if you have the horsepower of Bill Gates or the vision of Steve Jobs. Most of us mere mortals need to acquire an education somewhere, and every credible study on higher education makes clear that those with a college degree earn more throughout their adult lives than those with just a high school diploma. Rarely is less of it a good thing."

"The film implies that we need a revolution in our society to redefine success, across the spectrum. Our children's well-being depends on it. Unless we eliminate homework, put the fun back in learning, reward teachers fully, consider the whole child, do away with grades, and sever the perceived link between success and materialism, this generation of anxious children will grow up to be stressed-out adults with headaches, stomach distress and other anxiety disorders. Hello, but doesn't this describe, um...us? This is the world we live in. Maybe we should start by examining our own insecurities and regrets before setting out to change the system. "

Web Link


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Posted by Kerry Dickinson
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Many parents, teachers and students need to see this film. It sparks a necessary dialogue in our hyper-competitive culture. I write a parenting/education blog called "East Bay Homework Blog" about these very same issues. I wrote a post recently, written by a very articulate 2.4 GPA high school student:
Web Link

Please visit my blog. I have many good articles, books and DVDs referenced that are so helpful to parents of school-age children and to teachers of all grades.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 19, 2012 at 8:08 am

sorry mes petites...i don't step into churches...


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