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The Education Debates — davidcayley.com
"Sometime in the 1990's I received a long letter from a teacher named Alex Lawson, asking me to consider doing an Ideas series on the state of education. The letter impressed me by its sincerity, and by the sense of urgency its author clearly felt, but I found the idea somewhat daunting. The subject inspires such endless controversy, and such passion, that I could immediately picture the brickbats flying by my ears. I also worried that my views were too remote from the mainstream to allow me to treat the subject fairly. My three younger children, to that point, had not attended school, and my reading and inclination had made me more interested in de-schooling than in the issues then vexing the school and university systems, which I tended to see as artefacts of obsolete structures. Nevertheless Alex and I kept in touch, and I gradually became able to pictures the pathways such a series might open up. Thinking of it as a set of "debates" or discussions, without getting too stuck on a tediously pro and con dialectical structure, allowed me to reach out very widely and include the heretics with the believers. The series was broadcast, in fifteen parts, 1998 and 1999. I re-listened to it recently, and I think it holds me pretty well. There are a few anachronisms, but my dominant impression was plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Alex Lawson, whose ardour and persistence inspired the whole thing, appears in the third programme of the set. De-schooling gets its day in programmes seven through nine.

This series Inspired a letter I have never forgotten, from a retired military man in rural New Brunswick, who wrote to me afterwards that I had "performed a noble service for our country." I was touched, not only that he saw nobility in what I had done, but that he could see that I had attempted to open up the question of education and provide a curiculum for its study rather than trying to foreclose or settle it.

The series had a large cast of characters whom I have listed below.

Part One, The Demand for Reform: Sarah Martin, Maureen Somers, Jack Granatstein, Andrew Nikiforuk, Heather Jane Robertson
[embedded in this post]

Part Two, A New Curriculum: E.D. Hirsch, Neil Postman
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-two ]

Part Three, Don’t Shoot the Teacher: Alex Lawson, Daniel Ferri, Andy Hargreaves
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-three ]

Part Four, School Reform in the U.S.: Deborah Meier, Ted Sizer
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-four ]

Part Five, Reading in an Electronic Age, Carl Bereiter, Deborrah Howes, Frank Smith, David Solway
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-five ]

Part Six, Schooling and Technology: Bob Davis, Marita Moll, Carl Bereiter
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-six ]

Part Seven, Deschooling Society: Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich, John Holt
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-seven ]

Part Eight, Deschooling Today: John Holt, Susannah Sheffer, Chris Mercogliano
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eight ]

Part Nine, Dumbing Us Down: Frank Smith, John Taylor Gatto
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-nine ]

Part Ten, Virtues or Values: Edward Andrew, Peter Emberley, Iain Benson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-ten ]

Part Eleven, Common Culture, Multi-Culture: Charles Taylor, Bernie Farber, Bob Davis
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-eleven ]

Part Twelve, The Case for School Choice: Mark Holmes, Adrian Guldemond, Joe Nathan, Andy Hargreaves, Heather Jane Robertson
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-twelve ]

Part Thirteen, Trials of the University: Jack Granatstein, Paul Axelrod, Michael Higgins, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/12/the-education-debates-part-thirteen ]

Part Fourteen, On Liberal Studies: Clifford Orwin, Leah Bradshaw, Peter Emberley
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fourteen ]

Part Fifteen, Teaching the Conflicts: Martha Nussbaum, Gerald Graff"
[http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/2016/11/2/the-education-debates-part-fifteen ]

[find them here too: http://www.davidcayley.com/podcasts/?category=Education+Debates ]
education  learning  schooling  schools  paulgoodman  ivanillich  johnholt  johntaylorgatto  marthanussbaum  geraldgraff  peteremberley  cliffordorwin  dvidcayley  teaching  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  compulsory  tedsizer  deborahmeier  edhirsch  alexlawson  danielferri  ndyhargreaves  davidsolway  franksmith  deborrahhowes  carlbereiter  bobdavis  maritamoll  institutions  institutionalization  radicalism  susannahsheffer  chrismercogliano  edwardandrew  iainbenson  berniefarber  charlestaylor  markholmes  adrianguldemond  joenathan  andyhargreaves  heatherjanerobertson  highered  highereducation  leahbradshaw  sarahmartin  maureensomers  jackgranatstein  andrewnikiforuk  technology  edtech 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Can a Truly Student-Centered Education Be Available to All? | MindShift | KQED News
"DO FAMILIES WANT STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING?

Critics of home schooling and unschooling often say only affluent alternative families choose this path. While it’s true that home-schooling families tend to be at least middle class, there are also families who choose it despite economic hardship.

‘The reason there are so few truly unconventional publicly funded schools is that society doesn’t want them.’
When student-directed, choice-filled education was offered free to public school families in New Orleans, a wide array of families chose to attend the school, according to Bob Ferris, a founding teacher and onetime principal of the New Orleans Free School before it shut down in 2005. They had many low-income families and by the time the school closed the school was about 95 percent African-American.

“Black and Latino parents would come to us. Some were quite desperate,” said Chris Mercogliano, the former principal of the Albany Free School, an independent school operating on a sliding-scale model. “Their kid has already flunked out of five schools and they had nowhere else to turn.” Those parents were often skeptical of the model, which allowed students to choose what they studied, had mixed-age groups and looked very little like the schools they themselves had attended.

But over time, Mercogliano said parents couldn’t deny the change in their kids. Students who had been kicked out of multiple schools were suddenly begging to go to school. Staff members were saying positive things about students’ intelligence and unique ways of looking at the world, not calling with the newest problem. All of these things helped parents see beyond the traditional model and appreciate what Albany Free School offered their kids.

Still, very few people are ever exposed to this model, and those who are often find it threatening.

“The reason there are so few truly unconventional publicly funded schools is that society doesn’t want them,” Mercogliano said. “School districts and school boards and school people don’t want them.”

But is that the same thing as families not wanting them? If some kids find success in a more open, choice-based, free environment, isn’t it worth having that option for families that want it? Perhaps the real answer is not to turn all public schools into free schools, but to allow for a bit more variety within the public system so there is something for every kind of learner."
unschooling  deschooling  freeschools  2015  bigpictureschools  student-centeredlearning  learning  schools  alternative  race  class  chrismercogliano 
december 2015 by robertogreco
[Herald Interview] ‘Alternative education teaches students to be themselves’
"South Korea’s alternative education institutes are protesting the government’s push to introduce a mandatary registration system, claiming the move would extend the state’s grip on students who are fleeing regular schools and their rigid curriculum.

The Ministry of Education has announced it would conduct a special inspection of unauthorized alternative education facilities, a step that critics argue would pave the way for mandatory registration.

“The problem with the new measure is that it can lead to infringement of the schools’ autonomy. The plan specifies very strong control over the schools while promising very little support,” said Hyeon Byeon-ho, head of the People’s Solidarity of Alternative Education, in an interview with The Korea Herald. The PSAE is an association of 53 alternative schools nationwide.

Hyeon, also head of alternative school Mindle, said nontraditional schools need leeway to offer experimental education programs for students who feel that the conventional school system does not work.

“Simply put, alternative education is something that lets children be themselves. I think that is the essence of education,” he said.

The concept of alternative education first appeared in the late 19th century among European and American educators who believed education should cultivate the moral, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual aspects in children.

In Korea, the movement started to gain momentum in the late 1990s, in response to criticism that the conventional education system only focused on delivering knowledge and preparing students for college entrance exams.

“Modern-day education itself is for the benefit of the country, not for students,” Hyeon said. “Its essence is the standardization of all things, including human. Teachers, curriculum and everything are standardized and made interchangeable.”

In the book “In Defense of Childhood,” U.S. writer Chris Mercogliano discusses how children are “tamed” via school structures and risk-averse parents. Children’s adventurous nature, the spark that inspires them to explore, is smothered by control, the author claims.

Hyeon said Korea faces the same education problem, with outdated practices spawned by the military dictatorship still haunting the society. Far from promoting creative thinking, the iron-fisted regimes of the 1970s and 1980s strictly regulated what Koreans saw, read, heard and even thought.

According to Hyeon, education back then focused on fostering people who were obedient enough to follow the government’s command and control.

“The motto at Mindle is to help students become self-reliant and inspire them to help each other. That is actually the self-proclaimed goal of public education, although the reality is far from it,” he said.

Korea’s public education is dwarfed by the ever-expanding private market. The country’s private education spending, for instance, is among the highest in the world, due largely to the overheated competition to enter prestigious colleges, one of the key measures of success and social status here.

Such obsession over college entrance stems from parents’ fear of their children lagging behind in the competition with their peers, according to Hyeon.

“With an insufficient social security system, competition to avoid failing becomes even more intense. The distortion of education in Korea stems from the fear of falling behind,” he said. “They are terrified that they will fall short of the standards set by society.”

But as nonconventional schools strive toward alternative ways of education, concerns are being raised over the students’ well-being. Recent ministry data showed that some of unauthorized education facilities had substandard food services and buildings.

Also, while Korean law prohibits adult entertainment facilities from being built within 200 meters of schools, it does not apply to unauthorized institutes.

“The Education Ministry’s plan for the institutionalization of alternative schools is inevitable to some degree. With over 10,000 students enrolled in these alternative institutes, we cannot ignore our social imperatives, such as providing a safe environment for students,” Hyeon said.

He said the PSAE is proposing to the Education Ministry that unauthorized education institutes should be allowed to apply for registration or not, depending on their situations.

Hyeon said Korea needs institutions that remain outside of the regular education system to attempt novel methods of teaching, free from the influence of authorities. "
korea  2014  education  alternative  government  policy  unschooling  deschooling  freedom  regulation  standardization  hyeonbyeon-ho  chrismercogliano  control  legibility  society 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Race To Somewhere « The Free School Apparent
"My criticism of the film comes from the feeling that it does not go far enough. I had two boys with me and they just acted as if this was not their problem. And it isn’t. Because they are involved in the process of curing this disease. They are students of a Free School. … the only school profiled [The Blue School] as a solution to this monumental problem, can only be afforded by the upper class. The mere fact that I did not see a brown skinned face amongst their student body, signaled to me that this was not for everyone. … There are many grassroots efforts and individuals who are actively working to form an approach to educating that will serve a wider spectrum. The Village Free School in Portland, The Free School in Albany, the many Sudbury Schools. There is John Taylor Gatto, Matt Hearn, Chris Mercogliano, Jerry Mintz from AERO and others whom I would have loved to hear from in this film. There was no word from the home-schooled or unschooled."
racetonowhere  freeschools  unschooling  deschooling  reform  education  schools  change  gamechanging  blueschool  learning  missedopportunities  johntaylorgatto  matthern  democratic  schooling  schooliness  brooklynfreeschool  sudburyschools  villagefreeschool  aero  chrismercogliano  jerrymintz 
december 2010 by robertogreco

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