A PATH TO COLLEGE, CAREER AND CIVIC SUCCESS
Talents, when revealed, need to be celebrated. Challenges, when discovered, need to be addressed. Problems, when they arise, need to be solved. This is never so true as when we are talking about our children — their health, their growth, their education and their development. It is not enough to alert people to issues and then walk away. It is not enough to uncover problems and then neglect to work through them. It is not enough to lay blame and then move on.
It’s been several days now but people are still talking about the impact of the film. Several people have told me that they were moved to tears. Others have spoken of the changes they are putting into place right now in their own lives. Students recognized themselves, their friends and identified the pressures they feel. Everyone said that this film spoke to them in compelling ways. it is clear: we all have work to do.
Race to Nowhere is about learning, about education, about balance and about the quality of life for students and their families. It is not about our school or any of the many schools public and independent schools and colleges or home-schoolers that were represented in the audience. It is about a starting a discussion about what matters most and the health and well being of children. It’s about getting off the hamster wheel. That is an important discussion for all of us to have.
It’s a call to action and a call to collective action. Making changes to refocus learning on what matters most and restoring balance will take all of us working together. And perhaps it begins with the simple question that the film poses: What does success mean to you and your family?
We were delighted to see so many schools and colleges represented. We were grateful to the Randolph School in Wappingers Falls for co-sponsoring the screening, to the Kildonan School and Oakwood Friends for their participation and support. Millbrook, Kent and High Meadow schools were also there as well as parents and educators from many of our neighboring public schools. we had college people too – a key component of any discussion about restoring sanity to the pressure cooker of current education. We were especially pleased to see students.
It was wonderful to see so many people at the screening- the house was packed.
While watching the film, we asked people to look aspects of the film that moved them to want to take action. After the film there was an opportunity to identify some common concerns and connect with others who want to create change.
We also asked the audience members to notice at least one person with whom they could identify or strongly empathize, or find a moment or situation in the film that resonated.
We had a short time for discussion after the film and most people were able to stay and join the panel: Christopher Roellke, Ph.D., dean of the college and professor of education at Vassar College; Suzanne Button, Ph.D., psychologist and assistant executive director of Astor Services for Children and Families in Rhinebeck, and consultant to the Red Hook Central School District; Louann Joyce, first-grade teacher in the Beacon Central School District; Ben Powers, head of Kildonan School in Amenia; Zachary Missen-Jones, Oakwood Friends School senior; and Julia Raphael, Poughkeepsie Day School junior.
We ended at 9.15pm but the discussion had only just begun.
So what next?
We collected email addresses and we will contact everyone. In the meantime, what do you think?