it does sound like a Race to Nowhere doesnt it?
but in dd's case it wasnt so. the writing part was hard for her till she started typing. so while some kids wrote many paragraphs she wrote mainly a couple. and the teacher accepted that. she enjoyed the projects every year. one component was writing, the others were hands on stuff - either model making, or poster board or dress up. she does not have the kind of OMG as i have when i have to turn in papers. they do a lot of their work in class with the teacher helping them individually. in fact when we got back from our winter vacation at a real log cabin dd went through the whole method last year - doing slides and notecards to share the history of the area. other kids who were just asked to bring in a rock and talk about it, did some research and brought it in.
in second grade the kids were supposed to write two paragraphs about their section of the forest, dd wrote two pages single spaced. i remember she couldnt wait to share with the class that there are some monkeys in the rainforest who never touch the ground. by 4th grade her writing didnt go beyond 2 pages but the quality of research and the information she found impressed the teachers. dd loves every aspect of the project work, just not the writing. and so being allowed to type has really saved her.
dd's favourite project was on alchemy. the favourite part of it was that no parents were allowed to help her at all. everybody wanted that topic so dd was pretty proud she got it.
so i dunno. i think dd enjoyed the part that they werent relying on text books. last year they had more project work (one a week) than regular hw. because of that that was her favourite hw year. this year so far she prefers her new teacher over her old but doesnt like all the hw she has to do. which is nothing compared to what her 6th grade waldorf friend has to do.