Home » Schools » A Race To Nowhere in Two Million Minutes?

A Race To Nowhere in Two Million Minutes?

Last Thursday my friend Bill and I attended a sold-out screening of the new movie Race To Nowhere, at Los Gatos High school.

Two weeks earlier a very different film, Two Million Minutes was screened at Saratoga High School in partnership with PTSO.

Race to Nowhere takes the perspective of unhappy teenagers, stressed out, depressed and even suicidal because of parental, societal and institutional pressures to achieve high school test scores at any cost in order to get into the very best university. Hours of homework plus extracurricular activities are robbing some teenagers of their youth and have led to early burn-out for some.

Two Million Minutes compares and contrasts the educational experience in China, India and the U.S with a message that our students need to work harder to compete. In initially promoting the film in Saratoga High’s Principal’s Newsletter, Jeff Anderson noted that “given our demographic, this film is particularly appropriate for our school community.” In the next sentence he reminded parents of seniors that “this time of year can be especially stressful for their senior boy or girl.”

In addition to entirely opposite messages, the composition of the two audiences was very dissimilar – Los Gatos filmgoers were dominantly Anglo moms, while the Saratoga audience was dominated by Asian/Indian parents, many of whom are affluent, first generation foreign immigrants to the South Bay. Both sets of parents expressed strong concerns and even fears for their children but also some very different cultural values.

But this is not really a matter about race – it’s about institutional priorities, parental values and balance. Saratoga High School Principal, Jeff Anderson, an Anglo, sent out an email to Saratoga parents shortly after the screening, to distance himself from the 2MM film. Cary Matsuoka, an Asian and Superintendent of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District, enthusiasticly introduced the Race to Nowhere film to the LGHS audience.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses are important to our nation, but is it possible that some parents of teenagers are unwittingly “sacrificing their children to pagan idols” of material success and prestige? Ask your student what they think and tell us what you conclude.

Rick Bonetti | APR Referral Network | 408-857-8800 | DRE #01237009