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ASU Department of Teacher Education to show film Race to Nowhere April 10


Arkansas State University’s Department of Teacher Education will present the film “Race To Nowhere,” Tuesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. in the Carl R. Reng Student Union Auditorium. The film highlights the pressure on children to perform in America’s schools and is free of charge and open to the public. A panel discussion will follow the film.

The film was made by a concerned mother, Vicki Abeles, who decided to capture on film the waning of children’s love of learning and the “feeding an epidemic of unprepared, disengaged and unhealthy students” in America’s schools.

“This film was purchased because of a grassroots concern from ASU teacher educators about the ‘Race to the Top’ era of competition in education, which permeates down to individual classrooms, students and teachers, and which can be detrimental to authentic learning and assessment practices,” said Dr. Dixie Keyes, associate professor of Teacher Education and director of the Arkansas Delta Writing Project.

“Race to Nowhere” addresses the commonplace cheating, stress-related illness, depression and burnout infiltrating schools, and speculates that many young people arrive at college and the workplace uninspired and unprepared.  The film points to a silent epidemic running in schools of students who are pushed to the brink and educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills needed for the global economy.

Abeles views her film as a “call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become the healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens in the 21st century.”

“In trying to prepare teachers to enter into and have a complete understanding of this era of competition and high stakes accountability in our nation’s educational system, I think it’s prudent to present them with the alternative view to the forces of standardization and competition,” continued Dr. Keyes. “In classrooms across America, we still need to value curiosity, creativity, childhood and arts-based interests so the young people in today’s schools enter into the workforce ready to generate new ideas and use their talents to affect the world.

“As a teacher educator, I want the preservice teachers with whom I work to balance the weight of competition and high stakes testing with a relevant, inquiry-based curriculum that connects to the individual talents, curiosities and interests of young people. This film will help them and other educators to reach this balance in this era of high stakes accountability.”

The movie features Dr. Madeline Levine, author of the bestseller, The Price of Privilege, Dr. Deborah Stipek, dean of the Stanford School of Education, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, Denise Pope, author of Doing School, and Sara Bennett, author of The Case Against Homework.

For more information, contact Dr. Keyes through e-mail at dkeyes@astate.edu or by calling 870-680-8065.

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