Director Vicki Abeles will attend two showings of Race to Nowhere being screened at Laemlle’s Sunset 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, September 14th and 15th, with September 16th being a possibility, as well. In addition Dr. Wendy Mogul, nationally known clinical psychologist, will also be on hand to answer questions on the 14th. Dr. Mogul is awaiting the publication of her latest book The Blessing of a B Minus which
“encourages parents to see beyond the drama of teenage crises and the competitiveness of college applications to the goal of raising resilient, optimistic adults.”
(Note: There will be a facilitated discussion at Friday's (September 10) 3:15 and 7:30 pm shows by Race to Nowhere volunteers.)
The movie has been getting much attention this past week. CNN interviewed the director and Darrick Smith, co-director of the June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco. Smith was also a humanities instructor at Oakland Technical High School which was featured in the documentary.
After showing clips from the movie, CNN asked what prompted the director to make this film. The director shared that three years ago, she decided to do a documentary after her 12 year-old daughter became physically sick from the academic pressure place upon her by school and society. After comparing notes with other children and parents she realized her daughter was not alone and she felt that it was a story that needed to be told. Abeles encouraged parents to bring children to the screening, to begin a dialog between child and parent to open up the conversation to find out what is really going on, and to reflect upon what is happening in a child’s life. Parents need to be in tune to what a child is saying about pressure at school; they need to be able to tell whether a child is just acting out an adolescent stage, or is suffering from academic pressure. Both Abeles and Smith told parents to learn the signs of depression which can include not sleeping enough, feeling tired, tense, and unhappy.
Darrick affirmed that it is hard for parents to create a balance between a child receiving a good education and being treated properly at school. And he definitely warned that parents avoid using “the struggles and the challenges of schools as indicators of your child’s worth or your child’s effort which then puts more pressure on them to try and impress their parents and impress their teachers for something that they may be eligible for in the future . . .rather than being understood and being valued for who they are now .”