ABOUT

BEYOND THE RACE TO NOWHERE is an international grassroots movement to change the world by changing schools.

As storytellers and community organizers, we believe that documentary films have the power to bring people together and inspire cultural shifts. We make films to educate and empower individuals to move beyond fear and competition and reimagine a healthier future for our children and our society.

A decade ago our first film, Race to Nowhere, hit a cultural nerve, becoming one of the most watched documentaries ever produced. The film exposed the toxic culture in our schools and communities that elevates competition, test scores, and do-or-die college admissions—a crisis that is making our kids sick, robbing them of their ability to thrive in the future, and creating an unhealthy and inequitable society.

Millions of concerned people across the nation were galvanized, and together we have grown a global conversation and movement. Beyond films, we provide resources, strategies, and inspiration for making meaningful change in homes, schools, and communities. In the decade since, we’ve continued to make and distribute films to spark wider conversations and action, and we’ve grown a hundreds-of-thousands-strong alliance that is charting a new path for learning, living, and success.

We believe school is a shaper of society and also a powerful lever for change. If we create conditions in our schools so kids can thrive today, we can create a healthier, more vibrant society in the future.

Now, during this current moment as our schools reopen post-pandemic, it’s more urgent than ever to prioritize meaningful learning and the well-being of our children. Instead of returning to an outdated broken system, let’s use this opportunity to create real change.

Beyond the Race to Nowhere is a movement of parents, teachers, school leaders, students, and more to advocate for a healthier future during this historic time and for years to come.

A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER

My own awakening to the toxicity of the achievement race came the way it does to many parents: via years of trying to keep up with it. When my three kids were younger, our family spent weekends together, played in parks, visited museums, gathered around the table most nights for dinner.

But as my kids got older, their lives mutated into a state of busyness and stress that gave our home the air of a corporate command center. And I should know—I was a Wall Street attorney who saw her twelve-year-old daughter working longer hours than I ever did for law school. I decided to pick up a camera to expose this silent epidemic of anxiety, depression and disengagement that has infiltrated our schools, our lives, our culture, our society.

After releasing Race to Nowhere, parents, educators, and students reached out to me in hopes of changing their schools for the better. Instead of screening the film at commercial theaters, I saw the power of bringing it directly to communities in hopes of sparking conversation and community-driven action. A united grassroots movement bloomed, bent on restoring youth well-being, transforming education, and redefining success.

I have continued to make films that leverage the power of storytelling to bring communities together and inspire meaningful, long-lasting change. While my own children are now fully grown, it has become my life’s work to help make the world better for kids everywhere.

–Vicki Abeles