Advanced placement classes in every subject. Hours of homework every night. The push get a perfect 2400 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and attend an Ivy League college -- and that's on top of extracurricular activities like sports, music or dance lessons.
A filmmaker from Lafayette says the drive for success is too much for children, burning them out and not really preparing them for college, where they'll have to work independently and collaboratively and think creatively.
Vicki H. Abeles saw the problems in her own kids and spotted a nationwide trend.
That led to the movie "Race to Nowhere," which chronicles kids and the pressures they're under.
"Race to Nowhere" has been screening around the region; it will be shown twice at Monte Vista High School on June 1. The 7 p.m. screening is already sold out, so a second show has been added at 5 p.m.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District board president and member of the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs, Rachel Hurd, has seen the movie several times. She said it's important that parents see it, too.
"I think it provides an important perspective of what pressures kids today are under," Hurd said. "I think all parents walk a balance between encouraging their kids to try things, to work hard and put their noses to the grindstone, but what this movie also tells us is to watch your children. We need to keep in mind the whole child, not just their academic success."
She said San Ramon recently adopted a homework policy to address that: 10 minutes per night for each grade level, so a second grader would get, for example, 20 minutes of homework and a high school freshman would get 90 minutes.
Hurd said she agrees with one of the key points of the movie, that getting into a particular college isn't as important as some parents think.
"It's a reminder that college isn't an end to itself," she said. "It's a step towards life."
Tickets are $15.