Schools Don't Have to Fail

When I announced the new website I helped create,, I linked to co-creator Dr. Peter Gray’s great article on, “School is a Prison and Damaging Our Kids.” Since it appeared on August 26, it has received 34,000 Facebook likes, 16,000 shares, 2,000 tweets and many other social shares (Google+, LinkedIN, etc.). To say this article is controversial is an understatement—there are nearly 600 comments about it as of today (Sept. 10, 2013). However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the vision of self-directed learning Peter puts forth in this essay, so he contributed a second essay, “Schools Don’t Have to Fail: Here’s How We Fix Education,” on Sept. 7, 2013. I hope you’ll read and comment on both articles.

Peter writes in his second article:

Some people think that the kind of educational transformation I am describing here is a utopian fantasy; but it is not. It is already occurring, and the rate at which it is occurring is increasing. I’m a scientist, a realist and a person who has lived long enough to see some very positive changes in the direction of increased democracy and human rights in our society. We have made great strides in human rights for African Americans, for women, and, most recently, for gays and lesbians. The need for transformation in education that I have described here is not just a practical issue of how to improve education in our culture; it is also a human rights issue. Our children deserve—and need, for their well-being—the right to play, explore and learn in the ways that nature intended.

On their own, without any local, state or federal support, people continue to leave school for homeschooling (see my previous blog post about the latest statistics for the growth of homeschooling in the United States), to seek or create alternative schools, and to create or join learning centers and co-operatives. This is truly a grassroots effort born out of necessity for change, and one that continues to grow as individuals and families realize that living and learning together is more possible, pleasurable, and effective in today’s interconnected, changing world than being bused to school for processing in the education factory.