Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
With budget cuts on the mind of educators in recent months, Jeff Croley and Jason Lafay, teachers at DeWitt High School and creators of the DeWitt Creativity Group, want to bring the conversation back to the kids.
“We want to create an environment where kids can feel comfortable and talk about what they want to get out of their education,” Lafay said. “And we found that ‘Race to Nowhere’ was a good way to open up that dialogue.”
In hopes of creating that environment, Croley and Lafay showed Vicki Abeles’ ‘Race to Nowhere’ Tuesday night at DeWitt High School.
‘Race to Nowhere‘ is a documentary that shows the struggles that children face in education today. It calls for awareness of how the country’s education system is flawed, and therefore does not properly prepare our children for the future.
No one knows that better than students themselves. And in the talk-back session after the movie aired, DeWitt students had their chance to have their voices heard.
DeWitt High School student Diana Cervantes has seen first-hand that the style in which knowledge is presented in the classroom doesn’t fit everyone’s needs.
“We aren’t all the same, we don’t fit into the mold that they’re trying to push us into,” Cervantes said. “It’s all about memorizing the information. We care more about what’s going to be on the test than how this information will help us in the real world.”
The DeWitt Creativity Group hopes to find some answers through their open dialogue.
“It’s easy to say, ‘here’s the problem,'” Croley said. “But what’s more important is how we find a solution.”
‘Race to Nowhere’ gives potential solutions from students, parents, teachers and psychologists alike, including less homework and more creativity in the classroom.
“Instead of focusing on the negativity when kids get a question wrong we need to emphasize the positive,” said Croley. “Celebrate the small goals, work together to create classrooms where kids want to go to learn.”
Small steps, like showing ‘Race to Nowhere’ in hopes of getting state administrators’ attention, are just the beginning for the DeWitt Creativity Group.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes,” said Lafay. “It’s time to put students first.”