When we introduced the Don’t Fail Idaho campaign four years ago, it was in effort to make education the number one priority in the state of Idaho. It was to put forth data and evidence that showed we had room to improve for our families and students.

And it was to create a unified voice that might begin to chart a course for the future where all Idaho students would have equitable access to quality education, which could in turn help set them up for further achievements, accomplishments, and quality of life.

So when we take a look at our state’s progress, is there more we can be doing to create a bright future for Idaho’s kids?  

It is critical that we continue to elevate the conversation around ever-changing landscapes of learning so that parents, students, educators, and stakeholders can make informed decisions.

We need to consistently be looking to the future. We are recognizing that the opportunities, jobs and careers our students of today will be pursuing tomorrow require innovation in learning options, environments, and education models. We are understanding that our current education system was created for a different time.

Don’t Fail Idaho provides a channel to continue this important dialog and to consider the ramifications if we don’t. We want to inspire healthy conversation and debate. We hope questions will continue to be asked around equity, transparency, and accountability as related to all students’ learning. And we hope we can get to a place where we constantly wonder “are we doing everything we can?”

The questions are fundamental to the future of our students’ and our state’s ability to thrive. And we encourage seeking the facts about education in Idaho so that the questions may be informed, thought provoking, and action-driven. Let’s begin to own our student learning data as a starting point to get better. How else will we know if we are doing enough?

And like Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  Einstein went on to say, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

It may take Idaho more than 55 minutes to determine the proper questions and more than five minutes to solve the problem, but let’s keep trying.

Let’s do more.


Roger Quarles is Executive Director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

Roger began his career in education in the early 90s as a Wood River Valley high school teacher while earning a doctorate from the University of Idaho, after launching a successful restaurant chain in California. He was a principal at Kuna High School, the assistant superintendent and superintendent in the Caldwell School district and the co-director of Idaho Leads at Boise State Center for School Improvement. Roger served as Idaho’s chief deputy state superintendent in 2013 before joining the Albertson Family Foundation.


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