Radical Unschooling, Good Citizenship, and The Fun Theory for Learning

Some short bits of news to end this week:

1)   ABC TV contacted me for some background information on a story they are doing about Radical Unschooling. It will air some time between 7 and 9AM, EST, on Monday April, 19, 2010 on Good Morning America.

2)   The legal rationale for compulsory education is that school will produce good citizens. The results for producing good citizens who went through the K-12 level of school have been poor, as evidence from low voter turnout, public disgust with politics, and civic and social disengagement among graduates continue to show. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has studied what happens when these students continue into college, and the results aren’t pretty. According to AOLNews:

“Half of the 14,000 incoming freshmen tested failed the 60-question multiple-choice test, getting just half the questions right. Worse, they barely know any more when they graduate, with seniors scoring 54 percent correct. No school, not even Harvard or Yale, got above a 69 percent average among seniors. Worse still, in some schools, students did worse coming out than going in.”

Can homeschooling, unschooling, alternative schooling, or just a do-it-yourself attitude produce more involved and knowledgeable citizens than schools do? Test your own civic knowledge by taking the test.

3) I learned about The Fun Theory recently and thought how useful it can be for learners. The Fun Theory, sponsored by Volkswagon, aims its efforts at changing social behavior, but I think it can easily be applied to teaching and learning in a significant way. Of course, putting autonomy, joy and fun into learning makes it quite suspect to most educators, so I don’t see it coming to our schools any time soon. However, unconventional learners can create our own versions of these initiatives and perhaps one of them will catch on with conventional schools. At the least, harried parents who are tired of asking their children to clean up their rooms might be inspired to try the project entitled "Give parents some peace!" on the Fun Theory page.