I'm proud of how bravely you've survived the one-size-fits-all pressure cooker that American high school has become. But now that you're preparing to go away to college, I only hope your university experience won't be more of the same.
We were ready. We were ready to let our children be children, while committing to knowing enough about their current curriculum that we'd be able to supplement their lessons with real life assignments at home.
I am the guardian of my children's souls, and I have been fighting against the system for years to no avail. The only way I can effectively fight is by opting out. No afterschool activities. No SAT testing. No sad Kumon. No tutoring. No "checking" their homework.
Since the release of Race to Nowhere, I've traveled across the country, hearing stories from parents, educators and students who struggle with the pressures of our achievement-obsessed education system and culture.
Kids nowadays are under a tremendous amount of stress with a push from our educational institutions and from parents to get the best grades, do the most extracurricular activities and conform to fit into the highest social circles.
The latest skirmish in the education wars came as the New York Times published performance rankings for New York City public school teachers. Teachers don't need metrics-driven scolding. They need small classes, professional development and moral support.
Hearing the voices and seeing the proof that our children are being driven to stomach pains, headaches, hospitalizations and even suicide from the pressure to succeed had a visceral effect on the crowd.
The educational problems featured in recent documentaries are real. How different they are shows how increasing inequality has affected the educational system, family life, and childhood socialization.
We need to start having honest conversations about what is truly valued in education. We need to stop putting this pressure on our students to perform at all costs, especially when it jeopardizes their health and well-being.