Race to Nowhere is a film produced and co-directed by Vicki Abeles about the consequences young people face today as a result of being over-scheduled, over-tested and pressured to achieve. Since the film came out in 2010, Abeles, an attorney and mother of three has been advocating for sane homework policies. In this post she writes about how some parents California finally took steps to stop the enormous homework load their children were dealing with every night and where they hope to take their campaign.
By Vicki Abeles
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.
This bleak routine is repeated daily in households across the country. In a recent survey, students at high-performing California high schools said they average more than three hours of homework a night—and that’s after spending seven hours at school and perhaps another two or three at soccer practice or band.
Nationwide, adolescents and teens are routinely grinding through 10- or 12-hour days. They’re sacrificing a decent night’s sleep, exercise, family time, a social life, and spare moments to simply read, invent, dream, or explore—everything that’s essential to a growing mind. Headaches,stomachaches, sleeplessness, and depression rates among teens are soaring.
Now exasperated parents across California are finally speaking up to say: enough.