With her groundbreaking documentary “Race to Nowhere,” Vicki Abeles has become the catalyst for a reform movement focused on reducing stress in students’ lives and making education meaningful, the Contra Costa Times reports.

“I’m encouraged that the film has struck a nerve and that, importantly, conversations around the country are changing and evolving,” said Abeles, 50, who lives in Lafayette with her husband and three children.

Abeles said she began work on the documentary a few years ago, after having an “Aha”-“Inconvenient Truth”-type of moment, when she realized that a film about the kinds of discussions she was having with her own children and friends in the Bay Area could trigger a nationwide call to action. Since 2009, more than 1 million people have seen the film–often in venues where parents and educators could discuss it afterward.

“People usually spend a lot of time reacting at an emotional level because it kind of hits everybody where they live,” Abeles said. “People want to understand what schools can do to influence change and how to make changes at college admissions offices.”

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staff and wire services reports