A NEW MODEL FOR SCHOOLING
- If I were to
pick out JUST ONE article to offer people who want to learn about
a model for educational freedom as the doorway to a new and better
life, this would be it! It's called "Free to Be," by Kate Sipher,
a reporter for the newspaper Albany (NY) Metroland, written
a few years back. The voices quoted are those of teachers,
parents, children, speaking of what they know. Read it, if you
never read anything else about schooling, good or bad. Click here:
- If you're
desperately looking for a school - or struggling to decide on a
model of school that would fit your own ideas of what a school
should be like, check out Real
Schools - In Their Own Words.
You can also order it from the
so many generations of growing up dumbed down, we are all trapped
in the American educational system like flies in a spider web, as
John Taylor Gatto says so eloquently and Albert Lamb's experience
reinforces(see quotes below).
my hope that changes in education may open the door to other
badly-needed changes - all over our world, not just in the US.
Here is a whole range of links with ammunition for making
- . ....
school is what it seems, not even boredom. To show you what I mean
is the burden of this long essay. My book represents a try at
arranging my own thoughts in order to figure out what 50 years of
classroom confinement (as student and teacher) add up to for me.
You'll encounter a great deal of speculative history here. This is
a personal investigation of why school is a dangerous place. It's
not so much that anyone there sets out to hurt children; more that
all of us associated with the institution are stuck like flies in
the same great web your kids are. We buzz frantically to cover our
own panic but have little power to help smaller
John Taylor Gatto.
The Underground History of American
for a page of articles by him, taken from SKOLE,
the Journal of Alternative Education.
- Here's what
Albert Lamb, editor of the new, revised edition of A.S. Neill's
Summerhill, has written about the idea of learning in
- "Many things
that at other schools are now being taught as part of the
curriculum are at Summerhill dealt with within the course of daily
life. Children do not need to be taught about racial tolerance
when they are in a sort of extended family that is an inter-racial
group; the same could be said for respect for women's rights. The
school is effectively run by the oldest children. When there is a
body of older girls at the school, because they are so quick to
mature, they usually have a leading role in the management of the
school - and another lesson is learned without a teacher."
- Look at what
Chris Mercogliano has had to say about another deeply troubled
time in our history, another time of war, when national attention
began focusing on our children's experiences in
As the Free School was taking shape in 1969, the diverse movement
to bring about radical social change was more or less at its
height. There was no unified agenda. Rather, the general order of
the day was stopping the war in Vietnam, completing the work of
the civil rights movement - especially eliminating the economic
roots of racism - and breaking down the increasingly monolithic
control of major social institutions such as the public school
wouldn't be the first time in history (or the last) that among the
activists attempting to bring about fundamental social change were
those who believed that focusing on the prevention of problems was
equally, if not more, important than trying to solve them after
the fact. Nor would this be the first time that the idealistic
questions had been asked:
- "What if we
could raise a generation of children free of race and class
prejudice, free of an overdependence on material things as the
basis for the good life, and free of the belief in the necessity
of war? And what if society were to begin embracing education as a
process that encourages learning for learning's sake and enables
children to develop fully and authentically?"
Making it Up As We Go Along,
Story of the Albany Free School
to read more of Chris' history of the Albany Free School ... his
dedication ... and his moving conclusion.