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I am a long time follower of Dr Peter Gray and his blog in Psychology Today, he is an advocate for different learning solutions, alternatives to mainstream education and he is very supportive of home education and unschooling in particular. His stance, like mine, comes from looking at how humans learn effectively from a scientific not cultural/political point of view.
Our children are autonomous learners (we can call ourselves unschoolers or life learners too) so imagine my (pleasant) surprise when the latest post from Dr Gray landed in my inbox: it is a peaceful call to action, it is something called The Tipping Point Project. And I couldn’t agree more with it.
I can try and summarise it but I think it’s best if you get it from the horse’s mouth (reproduced from PsychologyToday.com, Freedom to Learn blog):
The time for revolution is here. It will be a peaceful one, conducted by people brave enough to walk away from our coercive schools, smart enough to resist the propaganda saying that such schooling is essential to success in our culture, and independent enough to thumb their noses at the education-industrial complex that pushes coercive schooling and makes it ever more burdensome.
Our schools fail because they are based on the false premise that education is something that is done to young people by professionals, not something that young people do for themselves. Over the past few decades, the education-industrial complex has attempted to remedy the obvious failures of coercive schooling by adding ever more coercion, to the point where many children are literally being driven crazy. It is time to stop this madness. It is time to stop accepting diagnoses of mental disorders for those of our children who can’t or won’t sit still through tedious, irrelevant, timewasting, anxiety-producing, depression-inducing assignments and tests. It is time to stop praising children who are willing to sit through all this, because all we foster with such praise is conformity, passivity, mindless obedience, and false pride for meaningless accomplishments. It’s time to just say no.
More and more people are saying no. More and more students, with their parents’ support, are walking away from coercive schools and choosing self-directed education at home and in the community, or at democratic schools where students are in charge of their own lives. The revolution has begun and is accelerating. It will continue to accelerate, not by confronting the education-industrial complex and trying to change it, but by empowering people to walk away from it so it will become increasingly irrelevant.
Every year in recent times the percentage who opt out of coercive schools has increased. At some point, before long, we will reach a tipping point. We will reach the point at which everyone knows several families who have left coercive schooling and chosen a path of educational self-determination, so it will no longer seem like an odd thing to do. When that happens, the floodgates will open. Schools as we know them today will eventually empty out. When people see that freedom works, that coercion isn’t necessary, most people choose freedom. The families who opt for freedom will become a voting block that will stop approving funds for coercive schools and start diverting those funds toward public educational opportunities and resources–such as learning centers and democratic schools–that people can use or not use in their own chosen ways (more on this here). All people, regardless of socioeconomic status, deserve the right to control their own education. The right to self-determination in education should be one of our fundamental human, democratic rights, and it will be.
Read the rest of the article and see how you can be part of it: Education Revolution: help us reach the Tipping Point.
The revolution has begun.