Renovation for Hope

Making a Small Difference in the Lives of Survivors of Domestic Violence   by Sam Bryan, Bethany Kraft, Claire Lauder, & Tina Miller According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and DVRC websites, abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors … Continue reading

The DREAM Act: Is It Only a Dream? (by Guest Blogger Krista Nuro, Spring 2013)

After watching the short online “Teen DREAM Art Documentary”, I became further at a loss for why we continue to punish well-achieving students and take away their dreams of a higher education. This film touches upon the barriers that many … Continue reading

Grey Clouds Looming Over Education: Is There a Bright Future? (by Guest Blogger Meaghan McHill)

There is a lot of tension hovering over education in regards with Charter schools. They are privately owned, publicly funded schools that require an application to be filled in order to attend the school. If the school receives an abundance … Continue reading

A One-Size Fits All Approach Does Not Work: On Charter Schools & Standardized Testing (by Guest Blogger Kyle Billings)

At what point are we going to realize that the one-size fits all approach does not work? Students should get the option of what school they best fit into. Should it be a situation where schools are inherently better than other schools? I think not, however, there should be schools that focus on math and science, and others that focus on visual and musical arts. Some students want to be scientists, whereas others want to be artists. There should not be a problem here.

I think about this and I recall a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson. He speaks of a young lady who couldn’t sit still in class, (whom at this day of age would have been diagnosed with ADHD), and instead of determining that she was not a good student, she was taken to a school that fit her needs. Instead of trying to fit her into a mold that she does not fit into, she went to dance school. She thrived, grew and now she has been incredibly successful.

With standardized testing, we are trying to mine our youth for only one thing. Measurable results. We punish our teachers and schools if students cannot meet the expectations that are set by a testing board that seem to think that one size does fit all. Students are being stripped of their ability to think divergently and creatively so they can color in bubble ‘a’.

In an editorial piece by Bill Gates, Mr. Gates points out that despite what any common opinion, teachers WANT to be accountable to their students. It is just our way of measuring them that is not working. I also do not believe that monetary compensation is the most important thing to our educators. Do we give them opportunities for professional development? What if our educators received stipends so they also could continue their education? In other parts of the world teachers collaborate and mentor each other, teachers need to grow just as students do. Effective teachers will spread effective measures to other teachers given the opportunity. Do we give them that opportunity?


I do not believe that charter schools are an inherently bad thing. Having schools that have enable our youth to focus on what their interests are in can only boost their potential. We do need to have performance measurements, but their needs to be better ways.


In class evaluations by other educators, review by students, looking at artistic and academic improvement are just a few ways that we can move away from the standardized testing. While I agree that there is a certain breath of knowledge that our youth should have when they finish high school, there just needs to be a better way of delivering that knowledge, and evaluating them on it.


I read that Education Reform is going to be the Civil Rights battle of our generation. With everything that I have read recently I am beginning to believe that is correct.



After watching  ‘Do School Kill Creativity?’ do you agree with Sir Ken Robinson? After reading the editorial by Mr. Gates do you agree? Do you think we need to restructure our school systems to allow our youth to flourish? Is our educational system that hasn’t been revamped since the industrial revolution due for a serious look?



Do We Recognize Our Privilege? Another Look at the DREAM Act (by Guest Blogger Oscar Ramirez)

I was able to watch a short documentary on the DREAM act and see the situations that Alejandra, the undocumented student in the documentary, had to go through and continues to struggle with because of her legal status. This film hit me personally as a Latino in the United States. And I personally know people that have had and have the same obstacles as Alejandra. I consider myself very fortunate because I have been presented with all the opportunities and rights this country has to offer because I was born here in the US. However, for millions of people that should have the equal treatment as human beings, they cannot live a life without fear of deportation and being separated from their families.

This film I think is very insightful into the world of the “DREAMers” and how this act will bring so many positive things to the lives for these students. I am a first generation college student in my family and even with all the rights I from this country it was difficult for me to know how to get into college and let alone pay for it. Simple things such as being able to work legally to make a little money during school, or having a license to be able to drive, or being able to open a bank account have helped me tremendously during my education. These simple things perhaps are taken for granted by most citizens and these simple things are items that undocumented students could possibly never have in their life if something is not done to help them. Thinking about our own lives and placing ourselves in the shoes of an undocumented, would it be possible for you to function in the US if you could not have these simple privileges?

The Silicon Gap: A New Divider for Struggling Students to Fall Prey to (by Guest Blogger Kyle Gunderson)

 micropcWe are all well aware of the ever-increasing chasm between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in this country, especially when it comes to education, but with technology becoming more of a requirement for education and life in general that gap may start growing at breakneck and shocking speeds. Libraries and charmingly anachronistic hardback books will always be a means to educating one’s self but a computer and a solid internet connection are making research and education a far-sight easier than scrolling through card catalogs and studying appendixes with the hope of finding information pertinent to research. There is no way of getting around it anymore, if you want your child to have the best education possible then they simply must have access to a computer and an internet connection and we are seeing now that dial-up is not going to cut it anymore. Continue reading

What Is the Relationship Between School Lotteries & School Segregation? (by Guest Blogger Nicole Lipton)

NicolePostThis blog post is, in part, a response to the recent New York Times articled called “Segregation Prominent in Schools, Study Finds.”  Please read this article as context for reading this post!

Also, check out to learn more about the charter school lottery process.  The website gets into the nitty gritty on all the details on how to beat the lottery, which charter schools are recommended, etc.

I found this website very enlightening and of course I left the site with questions. I didn’t know that the PPS has its own lottery as well as the lottery for charter schools. I feel like some kids in the St. Johns area (where I am doing my community work) would not be able to attend a charter school for various reasons, so how can we as a community change it so that all kids the same education as in a charter school but not necessarily going to one? I feel that every student deserves a “charter school learning experience” no matter what school they are in.

  • The first question that I thought of was does having the lottery create segregation in schools?
  • Is the lottery really random?
  • Also, not all schools are open to the lottery… why is that?

Let’s start our discussion here and see where it goes!

How Do I Get Involved? Questions About Fitting in Volunteer Work (by Guest Blogger Cam Jordan)

I think that it’s easy for college students and professionals to lose their sense of community involvement when they are entrenched in the day-to-day grind of getting by and advancing in their career. Working, Learning, Sleeping: Is There Extra Time? … Continue reading