RACE TO NOWHERE is the story of what happens when, through healthy, normal,
developmental needs, a gap develops between inner needs and the high stakes, unyielding
demands of today's preparation for young people to enter society. It is a groundbreaking
documentary feature film that examines the colossal price being paid, by today's students, for the
achievement-obsessed way of life that permeates America.
Abeles takes viewers to schools across the country to feature the stories of students who have
been pushed to the brink, educators who are burnt out and worried students who aren't learning
anything substantive and college professors and business leaders, concerned the incoming
young people lack the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. The stories of several young
people, parents and a teacher are intercut with scenes of family life and in-depth interviews with
top experts in education, medicine, and psychology – providing a deep and varied context that
underscores the enormity of a potentially looming crisis.
In 2010, competitive, self-assured, achievement-oriented, young people prepare relentlessly to
enter a culture that demands nothing less than their personal best, all day, every day. From
preschool through college, children are pressured, pushed, coached, sculpted, scheduled and
reviewed, running a never-ending gauntlet towards adulthood.
What happens when personal best is not good enough? What happens when personal best
changes into personal nightmare? The unintended consequences of an achievement-obsessed
culture can be catastrophic for families and children alike. The mental health of young people may
suffer, leading to depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, self-mutilation, and suicide – not
to mention binge drinking, self-medication and drug abuse. We are graduating a generation of
young people who have been trained as robo-students, unable to think and work independently,
creatively, and collaboratively.