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Darden College to Host Screening of Hard-Hitting Education Documentary 'Race to Nowhere' Feb. 8

Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education will host a free screening Tuesday, Feb. 8, of the 2010 documentary "Race to Nowhere," a film highlighting problems with the education system in America.

The film, which is proving to be of interest to concerned parents, educators, counselors and community leaders across the country, will be shown at 6 p.m. in the Big Blue Room of ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center. Free parking is available in arena garages C and D, at 43rd and 45th streets, respectively, just off Hampton Boulevard. Those planning to attend are asked to register at http://rtnolddominionuniversity.eventbrite.com.

A panel discussion moderated by WHRO veteran public affairs host Cathy Lewis will follow the screening. Panelists include Jay Mahoney, headmaster, The Williams School, Norfolk; Debbie Bentley, retired educator; Christine Ward, ODU assistant professor of counseling; Joey Blacketer, ODU master's student, Teacher Immersion Residency Program; and Tim Bostic, ODU assistant professor of English education.

School reform has become an urgent national issue and 2010 has been the year of the education film. "Race to Nowhere" is being billed as a call to action to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

First-time filmmaker Vicki Abeles was inspired to make "Race to Nowhere" out of concern for her children. A mother of three and former Wall Street attorney, Abeles awakened to this crisis as her 12-year old daughter was being treated for stress-related illness. She saw personally how the pressures were overwhelming not only to her own kids, but also to students everywhere - in every kind of school environment and community.

"As a mother, I experienced the stress firsthand and realized that no one was talking about it," says Abeles. "I saw kids who were anxious, depressed, physically ill, checking out, abusing drugs and, worst case, attempting suicide. I felt compelled to speak out about this crisis by making a film and giving voice to the students, teachers and parents. I wanted to expose a deeper truth about our education system. We are graduating a generation of robo-students, unable to think and work independently, creatively and collaboratively."

The documentary is being embraced by educators as well as parents. "An education film that gets it (No, not 'Superman')" was the title of a Washington Post blog by Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University.

"Every once in a while, a film comes along that has the potential to change the culture," said New York Times bestselling author Rachel Simmons ('Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls'). "'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."

For more information about the screening at ODU, call 683-5349 or send an e-mail to rsvpdcoe@odu.edu.

For more information about the documentary visit www.racetonowhere.com.

This article was posted on: February 8, 2011

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