Education For What?

What sort of society do we wish to live in? Do we wish to live in a free country? When, exactly, should that freedom begin? At the magic age of 18? Why not 81? Should teachers and parents and administrators also enjoy freedom to make important decisions? Should we not begin by making our fundamental… Continue reading Education For What?

Separate School and State

We in the Western World have become accustomed to the prevalence of “free” education provided by governments, with results which range from barely tolerable to severely inadequate, and costs which are shockingly high whenever one pulls back the curtains and looks at the government’s books. Is there a better way? Should the government be involved… Continue reading Separate School and State

Passion: Hidden Trump Card?

Lest you be misled, this is a story of intellectual passion - but please don't run away, just yet. My friends can tell you that I am passionate about many things - politics, mathematics, economics, computers, and education being very high on the list. Few would be surprised to discover that I have been reading… Continue reading Passion: Hidden Trump Card?

Homeschooling: It Began With John Holt; a Personal Story

Way back in the late 70s, I got married, and my thoughts turned to the education of my future children. I read John Holt and A.S. Neill (of Summerhill fame) and The Continuum Concept. I wasn't satisfied with my education even though I had aced AP Calculus and AP Chemistry. I thought we could do… Continue reading Homeschooling: It Began With John Holt; a Personal Story

Education: Context and History and Patterns

Albert Jay Nock, in his “Theory of American Education,” described a good education in the 1890s: After the three R’s, or rather for a time in company with them, his staples were Latin, Greek, and mathematics. He took up the elements of these two languages very early, and continued at them, with arithmetic and algebra, nearly all the… Continue reading Education: Context and History and Patterns

Educators: When A Child’s Time is Considered Valuable

One may learn from home-schoolers, without doing homeschool. Of course, some folks might first have to admit that homeschooling is actually possible; professional pride prevents many educators from noticing that something really interesting is happening among 4% of the children in America. One of the first lessons learned from homeschooling practice is that the "standard"… Continue reading Educators: When A Child’s Time is Considered Valuable

Why Schools Suck: The Economics You Were Not Taught

American schools are among the most expensive in the world, yet far from the top, performance-wise. This is designed into their nature, due to something which any decent school ought to teach, if students are to understand democracy - but that is not an oversight but a feature. Schools are a prime example of concentrated… Continue reading Why Schools Suck: The Economics You Were Not Taught

The Word Deficit and the Tar Pit

Who knew? It turns out that one of the biggest differences between children of well-to-do vs. poor parents, is that the latter children have a serious deficit of words. Well-off children, on average, hear about 30 million more words in the first three years of their lives. This article explains some of the research. Children… Continue reading The Word Deficit and the Tar Pit

Home Education: Tipping Point?

Home education has grown rapidly since the 70s. Now (2012 data), it is estimated that over 3.4% of American children learn at home - and their numbers keep growing. For decades, the NEA (National Education Association) has opposed home education. In 2008, they may have been pleased when a California court ruled that home-schooling parents… Continue reading Home Education: Tipping Point?

Why Schools Fail: The Economic Calculation Problem

Why has researcher Larry Cuban concluded that more than a century of constant reform has led to effectively no change? Why are government schools so resistant to fundamental change? While Larry Cuban and Richard Elmore and other educational researchers use their considerable knowledge and expertise to explore the myriad details of educational institutions themselves, I… Continue reading Why Schools Fail: The Economic Calculation Problem