Katie Couric's Notebook: Race to Nowhere

CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric. CBS

Imagine committing suicide over a failing grade on a math test. 

That's an extreme example of the intense pressure kids feel these days - and it was one motivation behind the documentary Race to Nowhere.

Director Vicki Abeles saw how stress was affecting her own daughter, who suffered from stomach aches. But when she heard about the suicide of 13-year-old Devon Marvin, she was even more determined to finish the film.

I interviewed Abeles for my webshow today and was struck by her message. Schools are not factories, she argues, and children aren't products to be fixed and tested.

Overscheduled, stressed-out kids aren't just less competitive - they're miserable. One study found that 15 percent of U.S. high school students had seriously considered suicide.

The film is a poignant reminder that straight A's and high SAT scores are not the holy grail. We all want our kids to excel - but I'd take a happy child over a depressed success any day of the week.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

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