Last week YaYa’s school hosted a viewing of The Race to Nowhere, a documentary about the pressures facing American children in schools today. I knew I was in trouble when the tears started flowing. This was during the first scene.
I looked around me. The room was packed but there wasn’t anyone I knew around me. I felt so alone. Much the same as when we first came to this school. Back then, I knew that we were heading down a new path. Where this road would take us, I knew not.
The documentary pointed out the obvious, pressures put on our children but also felt by us. We, as parents, have a lot to be concerned about.
As you know, getting into college is no longer just about academics. Kids need to show that they are well-rounded by participating in sports, showing leadership, being active in clubs, and contributing to the community. Furthermore, their transcript must include advanced placement courses as well. Oh, and let’s not forget grades.
One by one, the stories began to unfold. Family time was just the first of the many sacrifices that occur in order to meet these demands. Sleep was another common forfeiture. As early as 4th or 5th grade, the pressures of school build to a point where children no longer have time for play. By 6th grade, homework has not only stolen their evenings but their weekends too.
Believe it or not, one girl discovered that skipping dinner helped her to stay alert. She later ended up in a treatment center. She wasn’t the only one to end up in treatment. Another child suffered depression so severe that they were placed in an institution as well. These were the lucky ones when compared to the straight A student who committed suicide after receiving an F.