Race to Nowhere In the Press

Featured Press

"Education: What's Working, What's Not, What's Next" - The Commonwealth Club of California | September 17, 2013 | Vicki Abeles and Jo Boaler discuss the obstacles to far-reaching and widespread change and their view of what's possible when people put research into practice and bring humanity and sanity back to our schools and our children's lives. 

CBS 60 Minutes -  March 1, 2011 | Katie Couric interviews Vicki Abeles, director of the documentary "Race to Nowhere," about the high levels of stress and fatigue in U.S. schools and how bettering school systems could improve the lives of kids and young adults.

Teachers Watch "Race to Nowhere" - CNN | April 18, 2011 | "Race to Nowhere" says U.S. students are stressed out. CNN's Julie Peterson talks with a group of teachers about film.

Op-Ed: Advanced Pressure - The New York Times | December 8, 2010 | The filmmaker Vicki Abeles features the stories of students and teachers of Advanced Placement classes and the pressures they face in our achievement-obsessed culture.

Major Media

NBC Nightly News | March 8, 2011 | Education Nation: A new documentary urges parents to help lighten the load of academically overworked kids. NBC's Kate Snow reports.

CNN | March 7, 2011 | A new movie called "Race to Nowhere" highlights the extreme pressure many American students are under today.

CBS News | March 1, 2011 | Katie Couric discusses the intense pressure kids feel to be successful in school and the documentary "Race to Nowhere."


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Articles Written by "Race to Nowhere" director Vicki Abeles

Students lack school-life balance: Column - USA Today | Septemenber 25, 2014 | Since school started this month, my 15-year-old son, Zak, has been having trouble sleeping. He's been waking up in the middle of the night, worrying if he's finished everything on his to-do list.


It's Not a Race: A Letter to My Daughter Before College - Huffington Post | July 8, 2014 | You are smart, soulful and compassionate, and have loved working with animals since you were barely big enough to walk. At times the endless race left you exhausted, alienated and discouraged about becoming a veterinarian. But you held onto the dream. And when everyone in our town obsessed about Ivy League admissions above all else, you swallowed hard and stuck to your own definition of success.

It's Curbing America's Homework Habit, California Parents Press School to Stop the Homework Madness - Huffington Post | June 17, 2014 | My son, 15 years old and normally bounding with energy, sits bleary-eyed at our kitchen counter, studying before dinner. After a quick meal, Zak will trudge upstairs to slog through several additional hours of homework, only to get up early the next morning to do more.


"Race to Nowhere" Shaping the National Conversation About Education and Redefining Success for Today's Youth

Parents Embrace Documentary on Pressures of School - The New York Times | December 8, 2010 | It isn’t often that a third of a movie audience sticks around to discuss its message, but that is the effect of “Race to Nowhere,” a look at the downside of childhoods spent on résumé-building.

In McLean, a crusade to get people to back off in the parenting arms race - The Washington Post | March 23, 2013 | After screening "Race to Nowhere" parents discuss how hard it is to put their “weapons down” and change.

   Photo Credit Flickr User: John

The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports - Changing the Game Project | March 25, 2013 | As movies such as “The Race to Nowhere”...point out, while the race has a few winners, the course is littered with the scarred psyches of its participants. We have a generation of children that have been pushed to achieve parental dreams instead of their own, and prodded to do more, more, more and better, better, better.

Film Reviews

Tyro helmer Vicki Abeles analyzes the ills of the educational system, with "Race to Nowhere." - Variety | September 9, 2010 | Starting with her own offspring, Abeles (co-directing with Jessica Congdon, who edited) limns a picture of children deprived of childhood — groomed, coached and molded from kindergarten for the sole purpose of ladder-climbing to a “good” college, logging long school hours followed by hours of admissions-required extracurricular activities followed by tons of homework.

The Overscheduled Child - The New York Times | September 9, 2010 | In “Race to Nowhere,” the first-time filmmaker Vicki Abeles tries to condense a Hydra-headed problem — America’s overstressed, overscheduled, overcompetitive school kids — into a single, clear narrative.


Movie review: "Race to Nowhere" - Los Angeles Times | September 9, 2010 | Once upon a time kids got to hang out, play, do nothing in particular. Increasingly there's been an outcry against how structured — and future-focused — the lives of America's college-bound students have become. As "Race to Nowhere" demonstrates, the intense pressures they face, sometimes before they've reached the double-digit age bracket, continue to take their toll: rampant cheating, sleep deprivation, anorexia, depression, anxiety, self-mutilation, suicide.

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“I would just like to thank you for your efforts. I’m a parent of two teenage girls, a pediatrician, and a medical educator with a master’s degree in education and I have become increasingly distressed and disturbed by the culture of  high school education. I’ve been fighting the homework battle at my daughters’ school with only limited success. Thank you for all you have done.” - Stuart Slavin, Pediatrician and Educator, St. Louis, MO

“The Prince of Wales was very grateful for a copy of your film ‘Race to Nowhere.’ The film provides a fascinating insight into some of the issues concerning education systems in the West and beyond — and the serious impact these can have on young people.” - Wing Commander, Richard Pattle

“Tonight’s event was very special for us all at Google. I’ve never seen such emotion surface. Clearly,
people were able to relate to the message. We all have those devastating stories, but they’re usually locked up inside. As parents, we hurt to see our children paying the price for our collective misunderstandings. My first phone call, when I got home, was to my son in Arizona. I just wanted to hear his voice. He said, ‘you can call me every night.’” - Ann F., Google, San Francisco

“I’m a school superintendent that wants to fix our broken system and am the lone voice in the woods right now. I need to be a part of something bigger. I want in!” - Dave Tebo, Superintendent, Hamilton, MI

“What happens to our children today affects all of us tomorrow. Our future demands better. Our children deserve better. Please join ASCD, the gifted artists responsible for ‘Race to Nowhere’, and all those who care about the education of children in dialogue about how to ensure each child, in each of our schools, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.” - Gene Carter, Executive Director and CEO, ASCD

“The Michigan Association of College Admissions Counseling (MACAC) was given an award this fall for our advocacy day and ‘Race to Nowhere’ program. Vicki’s name was mentioned on stage!! What an honor.” - Kim Bryant, University of Michigan Admissions Office, Michigan

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Press Info

For all of our press materials please download our press kit:

"Race to Nowhere" Press Release

Press Photo Gallery

For press and speaking engagements, please email info@reellinkfilms.com or call 925-310-4242

To host a screening, please email info@reellinkfilms.com or call 925-310-4242


“I interviewed Vicki Abeles on my web show today and was struck by her message. ‘Schools are not factories’, she argues, ‘and children aren’t products to be fixed and tested.’ Over-scheduled, stressed-out kids aren’t just less competitive, they are miserable. One study found that 15% of U.S. high school students had seriously considered suicide. This film is a poignant reminder that straight A’s and high SAT scores are not the Holy Grail. We all want our kids to excel, but I’d take a happy child over a ‘depressed success’ any day of the week.”
— Katie Couric, former CBS News Anchor

“A compelling film about the stress that kids today experience because of high stakes testing.”
— Diane Ravitch, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education

“An education film that gets it (No, not ‘Superman’). Chronicles the price kids are paying emotionally for the increased emphasis on test scores.”
— Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“Raises important questions that educators and parents must confront... a provocative, conversation starter of a film.”
— Daniel Pink, Author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

“The Race to Nowhere is another inconvenient truth. It’s a wake-up call to all of us who care about
children, the purpose of schools, and how we define success in American education. And, importantly,
it provides viewers with excellent, actionable suggestions of how to begin to address change locally in our schools.”

— The George Lucas Educational Foundation

“Every once in a while, a film comes along that has the potential to change the culture. “Race to
Nowhere” shines a light on the crisis of learning and meaning facing American education. The film is both a call to arms and a beacon of hope, a source of relief and outrage and a way forward for all of us.”

— Rachel Simmons, co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute and author of “The Curse of the Good Girl.”

“Fathers, everywhere — please see this film. There are so many parenting issues where the torch is being carried by the moms alone, and the dads are merely roped in. The issues raised in ‘Race to Nowhere’ are too important; we need to see it, talk about it, and deal with it. It’ll take a collective effort to create communities around our children where they are not so destroyed by a single failure, where they don’t feel every single act is being judged by admissions officers, and where they are free to still be kids.”
— Po Bronson, co-author of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

“Spurred by the medical and emotional problems of her own three children, Ms. Abeles embarked on a deeply personal inquiry into the insanely hectic lives of too many of our offspring. Rushing from class to sports practice, from community work to homework, and relying increasingly on stimulants and sleep deprivation, these kids seem more pressured than the average C.E.O. Documenting consequences that range from depression to eating disorders to suicide, the film’s medical professionals share Ms. Abeles’ alarm and her awareness that blame, if it exists, is systemic and with little current incentive to change. Admirably conveys the complexity of the issue with considerably more compassion than

— Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“I promise you that this movie is telling the truth … ʻRace to Nowhereʼ conveys important messages
with power.”

— John Merrow, correspondent for PBS Newshour, writing for The Huffington Post

“Riveted to this disturbing tableau were more than 300 parents and educators, including Elise Browne Hughes, 46, who wiped away tears one recent evening in Bethesda while watching the documentary “Race to Nowhere,” which is becoming a growing grassroots phenomenon in the achievement-minded Washington area and beyond. “It’s in the culture, and it kind of feeds on itself,” said Hughes, a mother of two sons who paid $10 for a ticket and braved the heavy rain to watch the film at Walt Whitman High School. For her and thousands of others nationwide, the film has raised difficult questions about how to raise well-adjusted children at a time when schools seem test-obsessed, advanced classes are the norm and parents worry that their children will not go as far in life as they have.”
— Donna St. George, The Washington Post