This past week I was fortunate to play a role in a most important event at my school. Harbor Country Day School hosted a screening of Race To Nowhere, the nationally acclaimed documentary about our Nation’s educational system and the dramatic effect it is having on our children. By now my most trustworthy readers know this topic well. If you are new to The Wheel and have not heard of Race To Nowhere yet, please click on any one of the many links to their website in this post or on my sidebar for more information.

While the movie was brilliant and certainly challenges us as champions of educational reform, as parents, as teachers, and as administrators, inspiration came from the panel discussion afterwards. We assembled an excellent group, to whom I am now indebted, that included heads of school, college admissions officers from the Harvard Graduate School and Stony Brook University, and an insightful and caring child psychologist. Each one spoke eloquently and directly at what should be some of our Nation’s highest priorities and what definitely are our parent’s deepest concerns. Both the panelists and the members of the audience spoke passionately about childhood depression, stress, the overscheduled child, homework, the “teaching to the test” teaching methodology, the college admissions process, the lack of 21st Century skills being taught in the public school and the way in which we as parents speak with our children. We did not set out to solve any issues, but we debated over the source of them. Did they begin with the college admissions process? Perhaps it all began with the bureaucratic school systems that are focused on funding as a result of test scores. We also examined our own family values and how the values of society seem to become more powerful the older our children become. Societal values eventually compete with our own family values in the household.

When I first saw Race To Nowhere, I felt helpless. I was determined that the goal of educational reform was too large, my Goliath. Desperate for a voice and challenged to find a suitable venue, we created a website dedicated to dynamic teaching, and gave voice to promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children. Harbor Currents is found on Harbor Country Day School’s website and is meant to be a warehouse of resources and an opportunity to speak. Ultimately, Harbor Currents should take off on the national spectrum. Ideally, it will be a collaborative effort with the added voices of guest bloggers. Have you written an article that would help further our mission? Do you have suggestions for websites, books or articles that I can link to the site as resources? I am searching for a collective voice to send our message. I believe that awareness is the first step and those bold enough will take the second step, which is one of action. Please join me and become one of the authors of Harbor Currents. You can email me at cpryor@hcdsny.org, if you would like to join the movement.

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