Race to Nowhere at Crozet Methodist – 9 September 2011

Mark your calendars – Race to Nowhere at Crozet Methodist Church.

I recommend we all go – so that we can see and affirm that we’re not alone in recognizing that our educational system has failed. And then we can figure out what to do about it.

Watch the video then read this at RealCentralVA.

When:  Friday, September 9, 2011
Time:  7-9 p.m.
Where:  Crozet United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Sponsor:  Coalition for Childhood

Advanced tickets sold on line for $10.00 or at the door for $15.00.

Update from the comments:

Did you know about the Bartleby Project?

“The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of the nation.” Read John Taylor Gatto’s full statement on the Bartleby Project (it’s long).

Update 2: Seth Godin writes

Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.

As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers??
As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.?

?The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?

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22 Replies to “Race to Nowhere at Crozet Methodist – 9 September 2011”

  1. As an educator and a parent  in our county schools for 25 years I encourage parents to see this film. I live with a sense of guilt everyday over what we’re doing to our students, yet I receive praise from administrators and parents who believe children are thriving in our schools when test scores are high and we’re getting recognition and winning awards. I watch as kids who can’t handle playing a popular sport, taking music lessons, and getting high grades in advanced classes become depressed and hopeless. I see kids whose families can’t afford private lessons, summer camps, or don’t have the resources to play on youth sports teams (which is necessary now to play get on most  high school teams) give up or act out.  We pretend all students have equal opportunities or access. However, if we look at the kids who are considered most successful and/or popular in high school they are the ones with advantages: a mother who was home with them instead of having to work, nice homes, the “right” clothes, etc., and fewer, if any, pressure outside of school.  Our education system is set up to help these kids succeed, some despite academic pressure, while less advantaged children have little chance of experiencing the same. And sadly, all of this  now begins at the elementary school level. We’re setting children up for failure from the moment they set foot in school for the first time. Unfortunately, the people with the most influence, ability, resources and energy to do something about it often choose not to act because they’re  the ones who can provide their kids with the advantages necessary to handle the pressure to succeed in our county school system.

  2. Glad to see someone make a documentary on this subject.  It is scary to see how much we push children in and outside of school without a chance to explore subjects that interest them.  On the other side, we also shelter our kids from the real world too much as they watch too much TV; play too many video games; and text/goof-off on their mobile.  Where’s Socrates when you need him?

  3. Something to pay attention to on the disparity in education and the corporatization of the testing – aimed solely at the schools in poor districts. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/26/poverty_is_the_problem_efforts_to

  4. It’s disappointing to me as a parent that the measure of success of a school is based on students passing a test. Passing. A single test. Not being challenged and sometimes failing, not having a variety of paths to choose, not expressing natural curiosity. When the bar is set at mediocre, that’s the best we can expect. 

    My child isn’t yet old enough for the 3rd grade SOLs, but when they come around, I will absolutely tell him that he may refuse to take it, a la The Bartleby Project. I do believe very much in the value and power of public education, but high stakes testing and NCLB have been detrimental to public education. The politicians got us in to this mess, and it is up to We The People to get us out of it. I hope more parents and citizens will speak loudly and clearly to their schools, school boards, and elected officials that high stakes testing is not acceptable. Students CAN refuse to take the test, but the administrators don’t want you to know that.

    1. I haven’t yet seen the movie. However, I have had a child just finish third grade. I would love to ditch the whole SOL testing. I struggled with the academic pressures in this county myself for years. However, I was shocked and dissappointed to also find that much of the third grade year was devoted to test taking strategies. Ironically, test taking methods are not part of the standards of learning themselves. How sad. My daughter asked why she never learned about China in third grade while the other third grade classes did. I guess test taking strategies took precedent over real content. I am eager for a revival of school policy and measurements. If we aren’t willing to really put tax monies towards schools, we will continue to fail the individuals. I propose we shut down schools for awhile and let everyone teach their children at home, or at least until they are willing to pressure the government to put more money towards schools and less towards roads that lead to empty parking lots that lead to no libraries.

      1. I agree with almost everything you say except for the “more money” part. 

        I think the money is there, but the priorities are not.  As you said, they’re learning about testing strategies, not China. It’s not purely money – “more” of the same will produce more of the same, which is something I think many of us think is not a good solution.

  5. Provocative film. All who can make it will benefit from the message. Too bad it is not free to attend, though – or at least pay what you will/can. Big bummer.

    This stuff is kind of revolutionary, and too important to be available to only those with disposable income. For some folks that admission price will be prohibitive to them hearing a much needed perspective. Educational elitism – again. Which is a big part of the problem.

    Wherever we can, we need to commit to removing the cash factor around metamorphic thought and exchange of info. It’s a primary ingredient to successful change.

  6. Shannon,

    Doug Forrester here, Pastor of Crozet United Methodist Church and husband of Tracy Forrester who teaches fourth grade at Brownsville. 

    The bad news is that the cost of hosting the film is set by the film’s owners. However, the good news is that the film’s owners donate part of the proceeds to our local schools, so in some ways it is an investment in Crozet to purchase a ticket.

    Still, I see your point, and I will personally help pay for tickets for anyone who wishes to see the film and cannot afford it. Anyone interested should contact me at [email protected]


    Douglas Forrester
    Crozet United Methodist Church

      1. That is so awesome you guys! If somehow this goes over that $250 ceiling, which would be excellent, please let me know and I will take on the next $250.

        Beautiful way to be in the solution, and thank you so much for explaining, Doug.

  7. Do you really need to see a movie to understand the issues? The owners of the film are smart to charge for the 5 minutes of guilt they provide. Language is all
    that is needed today. Throw enough words at something and you will win. No
    substance is needed.  If you are willing to invest time and money in your children you can get them a real education. If you want the government to do
    it for you go to movies and feel bad. One less foreign car, a delayed home upgrade. That is enough for a good education. The choice is yours where you want to invest…

    1. “Throw enough words at something and you will win. No
      substance is needed.”
      Like  most of your posts this doesn’t make a lot of sense and isn’t accurate, but it is nice to know that you preach what you believe and try to accomplish.  Too bad throwing enough words at things doesn’t make you smarter or you may actually be the genius you play on the internet!  But then you’d probably be smart enough to just go away and we’d all miss out on your cheery posts.

      1. What does not make sense and is not accurate?  If you need to see a movie in order to figure out whether you need to invest in your children’s education fine, go pay to see it. Maybe just to be
        sure, you should see it twice…

        1. only on the internet can you ‘throw enough words at something’ and FEEL like you win.  you don’t win.  substance is needed.  and you don’t know that there’s no substance in that movie.  you just post cynical BS like this on nearly every story and it’s tired.  of course you have to invest in your children’s education.  maybe there are some people out there who could benefit from this movie.  i’m sure that was the idea.  unfortunately…like everything else in life…the movie didn’t make itself and there are costs to be paid for it.  based on most of your posts though i realize the understanding of basic economics didn’t come up in your education.  too bad the movie isn’t about that or i’d pay for you to go.

          1. What do I win? I’m not selling anything. Playing out in your own mind how things should sound
            and be has no influence on me. You use the words “of course” like it is a given. “Of Course”
            children can walk to school,,, No, not here.
            Movies are a form of opinion. I am quite sure that there is another side to this story the same as there are other opinions. I do understand economics and it is quite a feat to make a movie
            of what you believe and be able to charge people to see it. I already feel like I am losing as this area continues to degrade. Do you feel like a winner? If so, what substance do you base it on?

          2. Mr Ed is correct about some of this.  (and no, Ed is not my buddy).  Documentary type films are especially very biased.  The opposite side of the topic is typically not brought out in documentaries.  

            Go in viewing this film with an open mind, but don’t leave this film as “the truth”.  Otherwise, you are really just seeing the film to confirm your belief.

          3. Documentary films are basically non-fiction movies. There are different types of documentaries, some are biased, others are not.  But in this day and age, doesn’t someone undoubtedly see a bias in everything?

            In regards to this film, no one claimed the film wasn’t biased.  In fact, from the very beginning it has a stated goal: “inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse
            to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for
            these tests.”  You can see that Jim posted that in the first update.

          4. Since not showing up or refusing a required test results in a failing grade
            would it be the best thing for 60,000,000 students to fail in school? May I suggest Cowboys and Aliens as part of a double feature???

          5. Ed,

            It appears that you have a “insider” vs. “outsider” view of Crozet/Western Albemarle.  You have an idealistic view of the past and long for that.

            Instead of actively participating to preserve some of the qualities of old Crozet you appreciate, you’ve taken to this blog verbally undermine anything and everything that happens in the community.  There doesn’t appear to be anything that’s happened in the last 20 years that you approve of.  I don’t like everything (ex: Re’N’Store) but that doesn’t mean I have a pessimistic/negative view of the community I live in.

            What was it about old Crozet that you appreciated: the physical (agricultural) landscape, the sense of community, the social activities?  There are many bonds that we as individuals form with a location.  Just because that place changes doesn’t mean that we can’t come to appreciate the changes that inevitably come.   We can also attempt to influence those changes to meet our wants/needs/desires for our community.

          6. “Nothing that I approve of in the last 20 years”?? How would you know that? Because you read this blog? I have not come to the point where I can try to explain how people think and the reasons for their opinions. You should try
            to stick to the thread topic. Or will your obsession not let you???

    2. I’m not sure if you’re advocating for private education or home schooling but judging by the tuition listed below it’s going to cost a lot more than a foreign car or a home remodel to send one child to private school in Albemarle County or the City of Charlottesville.

      Our society/country was founded on the principle of public education, anything less than free quality education for everyone is a failure.  If we perceive our education system to be failing, then  it is our responsibility to fix the system.




      Field School – no tuition info

      Tandem Fiends School

      Miller School

      Charlottesville Catholic School

      Free Union Country School – no tuition info

Something to say?