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MPH: Free screening of ‘Race to Nowhere’

Manlius Pebble Hill School will present a preview of the new film, “Race to Nowhere,” at 7 Wednesday Nov. 17 at the Palace Theatre.

The documentary – free to the public – examines what today’s pervasive high-stakes, high-pressure educational culture is really doing to our children.

The film contends that high-stakes testing contributes to cheating, stress-related illness, depression and burnout and has largely replaced meaningful teaching and learning.

“The message in this film really must be heard by parents and educators, by all of us who love and work with children,” said Baxter Ball, head of school at MPH.

“The current obsession with tests, the pressure to out-perform everyone else in everything from academics to sports and music, the competition to get into the so-called ‘best’ colleges … this is all placing unprecedented stress on students today,” Ball said.

The audience is invited to remain, following the film, to participate in a discussion with local childhood experts and educators on issues raised in the film. The discussion panel will include Jeffery Mangram, assistant professor in Syracuse University’s School of Education; Dewey Meyers, child psychologist; Paul Gasparini, principal of Jamesville-DeWitt High School; Fatima El-Hindi, founder of the NAS Learning Center, a private weekend school that offers instruction in Arabic and Islamic history; and Baxter Ball, head of school at MPH.

“Race to Nowhere,” being screened in select locations across the country, raises issues fundamental to the current debate over education in America.

Said Ball: “Its messages about the impact on students of competition, testing, excessive homework and the pressure to achieve deserve our immediate attention.”