"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 .... All of these things helped parents see beyond the traditional model .... Still, very few people are ever exposed to this model, and those who are often find it threatening."
When I speak about alternative education, one of the most frequent objections raised is that, whilst it sounds idyllic in a home ed context, it simply isn't possible to roll out student-centred learning for the masses of children in our schooling system. End of conversation.
This article is a powerful challenge to that objection, suggesting it is not that implementing self-directed learning for all students is not possible, but that society lacks the will to change the current system. "“The reason there are so few truly unconventional publicly funded schools is that society doesn’t want them .... 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."
When we look at the crises and failings of modern schooling, it is clear that alternative approaches to our established system must be given consideration. And the more of us that can envisage, talk about and model a different path, the more exposure society is given to alternatives and the less threatening those different ways will come to be seen.
Can a Truly Student-Centred Education be Available to All?