I think you are spot on about so much… for years I have asked high school administrators, middle school administrators, “What exactly are you preparing kids for?” Because high school is not preparation for life or for college.

Open music studio in one of our high school libraries

Where I work we have tinkered. Our secondary schools don’t open till around 9.00 am. We allow more open time, in open spaces. We have created real opportunities for passion work. But we have much more to do.

In an era before your time Schools-Without-Walls existed and succeeded in many places. Google Philadelphia’s “Parkway Program” when you have a chance. Trusting teens to be in charge of their own learning works, even with the highly at risk kids most drawn to those schools.

Combined curriculum (Language Arts, History, Algebra, Physics) 9th grade learning studio

My one challenge to you is about younger kids. We have found that when we give freedom to children… it works at every age. Come visit one of our multiage elementary school environments some time. Kids are not wild animals who need to be tamed. They are real humans who want their environment to be good, who want to learn.

Elementary and middle school kids can make real choices too.

But please be sure to share your thoughts with those who run the schools you attended. Tell them the disservice they are doing to kids. Help them understand that the locked down high school experience works for no one.

  • Ira Socol

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store