Private schools to save the day
This is perhaps the most important post we have put forward so far, please give us feedback tell us what you agree with, what you disagree with — how can we make this change — what should we add, subtract, change….
We have been building up to this point: the education revolution will come from private schools. This is going to be a hard pill for many school reformers to swallow because so many want to be able to make the change in public schools — but we really believe this is not going to be possible — the change must come from parents and students demanding change, this will not happen until they are falling behind because someone else is going ahead — “going ahead” won’t mean going to Harvard, it will mean that kids who are self-directed learners are leading the charge in business, research, government and other areas of the world…this will only happen when a small group of people have been convinced that self-directed learning is the best plan, and pull their kids out of normal schools to make a change. Private schools are where this will happen first, because public and charter schools as talked about before have too many restrictions. Unschooling and homeschooling don’t have enough structure to drive a social change. We will have to breakdown the history of private schools to see where they need to adapt and change to make the future.
Private schools would have first been started with a couple of families coming together and agreeing to raise their kids together — while some went hunting/gathering, others would stay back and take care of the kids , until the kids were old enough to go on the hunt or gather food. As we evolved we some of us created better and better lives through the invetion of tools that gave us more wealth and power — we had more free time on our so we made use of this to be able to teach our kids more. Often this would be about teaching traditions — songs , stories, as well as vital skills like how to kill animals to eat, later how to read and write , later how to write computer programs. Religious institutions have always used private schooling as a way to maintain faithful followers. The wealthy have used private schooling to keep a hold on knowledge and power. There was always a gap between those who could afford to educate their kids and those who couldn’t in another post we will explore more about this gap. For now let’s skip this part and move on to the two main kinds of private schools today.
Looking at private schools as restaurants: there is a wide range of options, some are VIP steakhouses that you must be invited to, others a like Applebee’s, average quality that sometimes you might have to wait for. While there is a bell curve there are these two extremes are servicing market segments and doing an ok job of meeting their customers wants (get my kid into best college possible) We believe they could do better by bringing in self-directed learning.
Private schools have been around for a very long time; often they have been only attended by wealthy. This is partly true today, but not entirely, there are some very expensive and VIP type schools while others are more middle class and affordable. Because the schools are privately run they are able to do just about anything they please. But they lack creativity; yes the teachers, the parents and the students are usually higher quality than public schools but like the mom who does homeschooling by just copying school, so does private school just copy the public school. Today the standard for school has become to get into an elite college or at least college. They really just want their kids to join the elite — get into Harvard — so they tend to focus on college prep and testing to ensure the kids will have the best application and test scores to get in — Because getting into college has been demanded by the parents and students this is what the private schools are providing. Some do a better job than others, but they are all most always better than local public school options. As stated before the parents and students need to be introduced to the benefits of self-directed learning — once the demand becomes great enough there will be a shift.
So how do we design this private school that is self-directed learning? Let’s use and analogy: What is the perfect kind of restaurant? That is the answer for how the education problem will be solved — it’s the million dollar question — we will go into more detail later but here is a general outline — different people have different tastes and enjoy some foods more than others. Students will need to be able to experience different things — obviously we want them to experience the best, say a VIP steak house, but it is out of the price range of most people and if everyone had access to it, it would ruin the taste, experience and appeal of the place — so there is where another blog post needs to come in (how is something valued) avoid digressing …we want people to be able to try different experiences- we want to have a mix of types of people — we don’t want this to be a school for just intercity kids, nor do we want it to be a place for rich suburban kids — we need to try to find the healthiest mix possible — it seems that alt school is doing an ok job of this — bringing in students from all races , religions and economic classes — trying to blend them together best as possible — having a sliding scale tuition — the goal is to help upper class develop empathy and honest relationships with someone different from them, with lower class we want to give them the chance to move up out of a culture of mediocrity. Both sides have things they can teach each other wealthy can teach the value of education, family, and the lower class can teach the value of work ethic and bootstrapping — both need to learn how to fail and get back up. The school will work as described in the self directed learning post.