New documentary asks are we raising our kids right?
February 4, 2011 (WPVI) -- So do kids need us to push them or pull back? Tamala invites you to give your thoughts on her Facebook page.
Recently hundreds of parents and students packed an elite prep school to see a new documentary.
It wasn't about acing the SAT or securing a spot in the Ivy Leagues. Instead it asked this: are our best efforts in education leaving kids stressed, sleep deprived and unprepared?
Last month the auditorium at William Penn Charter was filled to see "Race to Nowhere." The film argues that education is now a rat race of tests, homework and activities.
Do it and your kid is exhausted and freaked out, and afraid that one bad grade will ruin his life. But don't do it and there goes his spot at Princeton.
"You have to do well now to get into college," said one student.
The film raises some provocative ideas, that more than one hour of homework in middle school or two in high school is useless, and students don't retain the information, and that kids are actually less prepared by this system.
"You go to their colleges and the professors tell you the kids don't have any problem solving skills. All they want to know is how many paragraphs I have to write to get an A?" explains film director Vicki Abeles.
In a post-film discussion at Penn Charter, some parents agreed with the film. Others were skeptical.
"I thought it was one sided too," said Jonathan Schug. "It looks like nobody likes school, and that's not true. There are kids who like it."
In fact a hotly debated new book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," argues parental pressure, intense routines, and a focus on grades and prizes helps kids meet their potential.
CHOP's Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg appears in "Race to Nowhere". He says both opposing views are right and wrong, depending on the kid.
"If a kid is coming home and really enjoying life, really enjoying learning, great. If a kid is getting straight A's, but he has a stomach ache every morning, then not great," says Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Experts offer these tips for parents:
" Praise effort not grades or scores
" Prioritize good sleep and family time
" Be open to changing your kids school or routine
" and accept that the best education is not always the most prestigious one
"It doesn't just have to be one school, the Harvards, the Princetons, the Stanfords; there's a whole range of schools," said Darryl Ford, Penn Charter Headmaster. "I think we do our kids a disservice by building them up and saying there's only one school to go to."
"We push our kids so hard now to get the initial fat envelope at the expense of being socially intelligent, emotionally intelligent, confident, feeling good about yourself. Ten years out, there are not going to be more successful," says Dr. Ginsberg.
So do kids need us to push them or pull back? Tamala invites you to give your thoughts on her Facebook page.http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Tamala-Edwards/112686714322
tamala edwards parenting reports, education, special reports, tamala edwards
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