"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Seesaw of Educational Theories--Mandates vs Children Setting their Own Educational Agenda

How do some parents respond to the ever increasing standards control and financial expense of the Federal Government in public education? Some parents aren't aware of increasing mandates and spending, some believe more money and national standards mean better education, and still others are pulling their children from an increasing nationalized mode of education into systems with no standards at all.

Here is an article from The Sun Sentinel in Florida about a Sudbury school where curriculum doesn't exist. The students set their own agenda and learning style. It's an interesting concept and an alternative for parents who see a nanny state educational program for their child as stifling and inappropriate. It's a novel idea and is parent/student driven rather than government driven. This is a succinct quote from an article about this approach to learning:

The Sudbury approach appeals to people who reject what they see as "coerced" instruction that occurs when adults set the agenda. Supporters instead trust that children will choose to learn what they need to become successful adults. Detractors see it in much the same way as the inmates taking control of the asylum. Only time will tell.

I wonder if the Sudbury approach will ultimately succeed...after 40 years of the Department of Education's control and increased spending (180% increase during those four decades) and flat-lined scores, it is hardly surprising parents are searching for alternative educational models for their children.

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