School project builds Conestoga huts for Boise homeless

Students at Sage International School of Boise have constructed two Conestoga style huts for a 10th grade project. The huts were designed and built by students using similar platforms as a community outreach to help homeless people. However, Boise City does not currently zone for the huts so they will be delivered to Interfaith Sanctuary. The project was funded through a grant from Idaho STEM Action Center.

The full story and great video is here.

A comment by Ruvine Jimenez

When my 8 year-old granddaughter expressed that she no longer wanted to attend school it was a red flag that something was wrong. Our family loves to learn, loves school, loves to read, etc. I went to her school and advised I wanted to set up an observation of the classroom. Once I observed her classroom I understood why she did not want to go to school. She was not being challenged! The students that needed extra help were being served by the classroom teacher and para-educators and the students like my granddaughter were working on dittos with no teacher or para-educator interaction.

No wonder she no longer liked school. Unfortunately, for us the school that she was attending did not have another 3rd grade English option so we moved her to a different school in the same school district. She flourished like you would not believe. The classroom environment was more conducive to interaction with the teacher and her peers. She was able to attend that school for 3rd and 4th grade and it did wonders for her. My suggestion is that when our children say something that raises a question in our thoughts that we act on them.

Too many times we brush our children’s concerns away because we think that we are to far removed to make a judgment that is best for our children. There in lies the problem. Parents devalue themselves. We as parents know our students better than anyone no matter what their university/college background. In order for us to help our children we need to listen to their concerns and do some fact finding and act.

Ruvine Jimenez

From Seattle Education: Common Core PARCC test does not determine college readiness

As Mathis points out, these invalid tests have human costs:

“With such low predictability, you have huge numbers of false positives and false negatives. When connected to consequences, these misses have a human price. This goes further than being a validity question. It misleads young adults, wastes resources and misjudges schools.  It’s not just a technical issue, it is a moral question. Until proven to be valid for the intended purpose, using these tests in a high stakes context should not be done.”

Continue reading at Seattle Education:


Perspective Parent

As a perspective parent, I have reflected upon my own schooling, compared it to the current state of affairs, and then pondered how my future children will be taught. As a 24 year old I have been removed from the public school system for a little over half a decade now. Even in that short amount of time, I have read about and have heard stories about how stressed out and uninspired children who are going through school are about their education. This is why the ideal of WAFSRA gives me hope for when my future children go through the journey and quest for knowledge that will be the future public school system.

Who Are We Doing It For?

As I see so many different perspectives on education, and hear so many different opinions on the matter, I wonder about one thing: what are some of the motivations?  It seems that while politicians bicker, unions talk about teacher pay, and publishers push their solutions, the true purpose seems to get lost in the siloed, fundamentalist, one-dimensional attempts to solve a three-dimensional problem.

Now while I’m sure each of the groups above are well intentioned, each one by iteself cannot solve the problem.  And each are motivated by different problems in the system.  So while decent teacher pay would help retain good teachers, does that fundamentally change how kids retain what they learn?  And while a good curriculum can improve ours kids’ learning, does the curriculum alone solve the problem?  Each group mentioned plays a role.  But who is looking at the most important stakeholder in all of this, without any bias or without any other motivations?

The one purpose for the whole discombobulated system is the student.  But those trees are now getting so tall that we can no longer see the forest.  Maybe it’s time to take a step back, change the perspective, remove all the filters from our information sources, realize the biases that exists in one-dimensional solutions, and focus on the one thing that should matter more than anything: our children.

Remove the silos between the educational institutions, abandon divisive partisanship, and unite for our children’s future.  It is time to bring together a bunch of unbiased, smart and caring people under one roof and start working on solving our education problems.

Director Vicki Abeles on her film, “Beyond Measure”

Edutopia called “Beyond Measure” “the most powerful film…in many years about what’s needed—and possible—in American education.” And the film is now at the top of Edutopia’s recommended education docs. Our book, Beyond Measure, also received a warm and positive review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. And, at the beginning of this year, the New York Times ran our op-ed on the how the achievement race is making kids sick. The LA Times also ran our piece about time. This is a tremendous opportunity to build momentum and grow the movement. Please consider sharing these pieces via email, on social media networks, and with your community when you screen the film.

Another valuable resource is this new report on rethinking college admissions. Let’s see this restore the kinds of deep and meaningful learning experiences that we come across in “Beyond Measure.”

Note: “Beyond Measure” will be shown in the CBC Library Lecture Hall, L102, on 02 June beginning at 6:00 pm. Go to and open the top tab labeled Events & Local Films.