Race to Nowhere

“Race to Nowhere” is a film that calls us to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. Named by TakePart.com as one of “10 Education Documentaries You Don’t Want to Miss”, “Race to Nowhere” brings communities together to spark dialogue and galvanize change in America’s schools.

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve, “Race to Nowhere” points to a silent epidemic in our schools. It reveals an education system in which cheating has become commonplace; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired. Shown nationwide and internationally in more than 8,000 (and growing!) schools, universities, cinemas, hospitals, corporations and community centers, “Race to Nowhere” has become the centerpiece of a nationwide, grassroots movement to reclaim healthy childhood and our schools.

Co-directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon

“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.”

“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


Deborah Stipek, Ph.D.
Deborah Stipek is a Professor of Education at Stanford University. Her scholarship concerns instructional effects on children’s achievement motivation, early childhood education, elementary education and school reform. In the film, she illuminates the flaws of the American education system, and explains what can be done to address them. She also describes why schools in other countries are more effective than the ones in America. Dr. Stipek assures us these problems can be fixed — but if they’re not, our country as a whole will suffer.

Dr. Ken Ginsburg
Dr. Ken Ginsburg is an adolescent medicine specialist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and co-author of the book Less Stress, More Success. Dr. Ginsburg explains in the film that “the common force that drives kids toward so many negative behaviors is stress.” Drawing from his own experiences as a father, Dr. Ginsburg admits that parents today face a dilemma: Should they minimize their children’s stress, or encourage them to attend a good college? It seems it is impossible to do both. The solution Dr. Ginsburg suggests for everyone is to redefine success and get off the treadmill together.

Dr. Madeline Levine 
Madeline Levine is a nationally known psychologist with over 25 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, and educator. She is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Price of Privilege, and Teach Your Children Well, both published by Harper Collins. She is also a co-founder of Challenge Success.

Denise Pope 
Denise Pope is a senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education. For the past ten years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is the author of Doing School: How we are creating a generation of stressed out, materialistic, and mis-educated students. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a national research and intervention project that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success.

Sara Bennett 
Sara Bennett is the co-author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It and the founder of Stop Homework, a not-for-profit project devoted to changing homework policy and practice, that is affiliated with The Alliance for Childhood. Sara has successfully helped parents advocate for homework reform in their own communities, and she has counseled teachers, administrators, and School Board members on ways to change homework practices.

Dr. Wendy Mogel 
Dr. Wendy Mogel is an internationally known clinical psychologist, author, and public speaker. She is the author of the award-winning books, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus. She serves on the boards of the Center for Early Education and the Counsel for Spiritual and Ethical Education — a century-old interfaith organization serving private schools.