http://www.brooklynfreeschool.org/home I have no idea if this actually works or not. I’ve been a believer in the Free School movement forever, reading Summerhill + some John Holt books when I was 14, which convinced me to strive hard to enter a private school which seemed close enough to it, and it worked; I got a full scholarship and am grateful I got out of Public School at that point [in 1986, graduated in 1990]. It wasn’t a Free School or Sudbury but it was far closer to that kind of thing than my overcrowded public school was.
Through the years, I’d on and off follow Sudbury school news and other schools like it but never deeply: I just knew it was a good idea.
So today, I see John Oliver’s scathing rant about Charter schools and – he’s right of course. He’s John Oliver and he really knows how to nail things properly.
But I wondered: The *potential* for a Charter School to be a Free School (democratic) *is* there.
IS ANYBODY DOING IT?
I researched to see. What I found is that democratic schools favor middle to upper class families, because they rely heavily on parental contribution (money) to allow them to do what they do.
Good for that and all that – and I see this and go, “This is great that the middle class/rich families can do this – that’s something at least”.
But then there’s Charter schools. They get taxpayer funding. They’re allowed to hire for-profit “education managers” that don’t require the same oversight. The oversight for the school isn’t managed properly in many states…. and so, there are loads of scandals and problems.
And YET: there’s a missing opportunity here. WHAT is stopping Free Schools from entering the Charter school system? Properly managed funds. Properly managed school. Open democratic, mixed age, hands-on progressive learning environment but as a Charter, allowing those who aren’t being served properly by public schools to have a choice for something better?
Special needs kids, minorities, ADHD, Aspergers, Gifted… kids that fall outside of the Bell Curve… [which are geared towards white, middle class, two parent families] – could potentially be served in a free and open democratic school environment.
I don’t know. I don’t see why it’s not being done. I couldn’t finish looking at this site: The 60 kids that go there have families that can afford to send them: and I think that’s great for them to get that opportunity…
…but there’s a chance to use the existing system of Charter school funding: WHICH is supported by Democrat and Republican alike… to revolutionize learning environments and CREATE unschools …
… I just.. I just see an opportunity here. I know it’s possible but it seems damned hard and yet… possible.
It seems possible.