TOWARD 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: Free to Be.
 
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 bookstore.
 
 After 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). It is 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 changes.
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Nothing about 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 flies."

- John Taylor Gatto.

from The Underground History of American Education

 
Click here 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 school.
 
"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." .

............................................................. .- Albert Lamb....

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 school:
 
''... 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 system.
''This 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?"

- Chris Mercogliano

from Making it Up As We Go Along,

The Story of the Albany Free School

 
 Click here to read more of Chris' history of the Albany Free School ... his dedication ... and his moving conclusion. .........
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