Leading the Movement to BAN BUSY: Schools inspired by Race to Nowhere

On the eve of Race to Nowhere’s public television premiere and 5th anniversary, we’re launching the BAN BUSY: Time to Thrive campaign. BAN BUSY is a movement and a toolkit designed to help kids, parents, and educators stay above the pressure cooker culture that a new school year can quickly become. We want to champion unstructured time and build solidarity around the idea that school doesn’t have to be stressful. Time to bust the myth that busy is better.

As we ramp up the campaign, we’re taking inspiration from schools across the country that are already implementing changes in response to “Race to Nowhere” screenings. Here are great examples of schools that are taking the lead to BAN BUSY:

Ridgewood High School – Ridgewood, New Jersey

After a 2010 screening, the school began scheduling homework-free holiday breaks; now, other schools in the district are doing it, too. And thanks in part to student feedback, Ridgewood High began experimenting with periodic “sleep-in Wednesdays,” or eight days a year when exhausted high-schoolers can snag an extra hour of much-needed rest.

Walter Payton High School - Chicago, Illinois                                                                 

This school not only instituted homework-free holidays, but it also added seminars to the school curriculum that are based on student interest and aren’t graded. Banning busy is not just about giving students less work—it about making sure time spent in school is meaningful.



Hillcrest Elementary School - Oakland, CA       

Hundreds of schools and districts have created new homework policies thanks to Race to Nowhere. But Hillcrest was so compelled by the film’s research—studies show homework has no benefit for elementary students—they did away with homework entirely.

John Burroughs High School - Burbank, CA

A big message in Race to Nowhere is that transformational change in our schools begins with parent involvement and grass roots action.  After watching the film, parents at Burbank High School decided to draft their own healthy homework resolution. The California Parent-Teacher Association passed that resolution empowering local PTAs to help institute more balanced homework policies.

The Emery Wiener School - Houston, Texas

Inspired by the sleep research in Race to Nowhere and the encouragement of parents at a community screening, school leader Stuart Dow changed school start times. Students now have an extra 45 minutes to sleep in. Watch his story:

Join us in welcoming the new school year by making this one more sane, more creative, and more fruitful. Share your experiences on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BanBusy. We can’t let an obsession with activity stand in the way of good health, meaningful learning, and student joy.