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Beyond Measure: A Reflection on the Film

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Beyond Measure: A Reflection on the Film

Stacy Rosenblum

Last month, MyloWrites hosted a screening of Beyond Measure, by filmmaker Vicki Abeles.  Ms. Abeles is well known for her previous film, Race To Nowhere, which documented the enormous pressure that students face from exhaustive assessments and huge homework loads.  Where Race To Nowhere illuminated all that is wrong in our educational system, Beyond Measure sets out to propose meaningful and evidence based strategies for positive change.  Beyond Measure is specifically a response to the stories of successful schools that Ms. Abeles heard as she toured the country, screening Race To Nowhere.

Beyond Measure tells the story of courageous educators and parents, the “strategically subversive heroes and heroines,” who innovate, collaborate, and take risks to move beyond the miserable standard of education in the U.S. These revolutionary educators ask new questions about student success and aren’t daunted by the patience, hard work and perseverance it takes to affect change in our country’s monolithic public education system. They challenge the assumption that progress must be quantified.  They dare to rethink the purpose of school from a place in which knowledge is transferred passively from teacher to student to a place in which individual passions are fostered. And they aren’t sitting around waiting for political and policy change - they are facing this challenge head on and changing a broken system of education, one school and district at time.   

Prominent education researchers and advisors including Sir Ken Robinson, Carol Dweck, and Jo Boaler provide the structure of evidence which supports the revolutionary ideas of student autonomy and ownership of learning. The viewer gets a look inside high schools from all different areas of the country whose leaders are committed to change. We see students who are clearly engaged, and whose enjoyment in their learning is evident in the smiles on their faces.

MyloWrites is the perfect partner for this film, and hosting a screening was an obvious choice for us. At our core, MyloWrites knows how important it is to keep students motivated and inspired to learn. Struggling and becoming defeated however, is an unfortunate, yet real byproduct of our passive and antiquated educational system. This struggling and defeatism leads to overwhelmed students who shut down, lose interest, and become unmotivated. Teaching to universal standards, and with the expectation that every child perform to preconceived levels of achievement is a tenet of our aged educational system. Instead, we should embrace the naturally diverse rates of cognitive development and celebrate this diversity. We need to hone in on students strengths to foster learning and support areas of struggle with new and innovative educational approaches that best suits individual needs. It is important that we understand that motivation and self confidence is the key to student success, as we see so clearly in Beyond Measure.

Every individual wants to be recognized and feel successful in their areas of strength. This recognition of mastery translates to motivation throughout all areas of life, even for those who may need more support to master new skills. It is our job as parents and educators to recognize and celebrate learning differences in order to ensure that we keep our children engaged, motivated and confident.

Beyond Measure is a call to action for educators and parents everywhere. Sir Ken Robinson sums it up perfectly, “change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.” Parents and educators are the agents of change, and their action is the only way that our educational system will develop into a system that is equitable and just for all students.  

Don’t wait another minute! Go see this film! Find a screening of Beyond Measure in your community here. If there isn’t a screening closeby, consider hosting one. Be an agent of change in your community!

Be sure to share your thoughts with us by commenting below or tweeting us @Mylowrites!