Press Release: New Web Site

For Immediate Release

New Web Site Introduces People to Self-Directed Alternatives to School
www.AlternativesToSchool.com Serves as Guide to More Suitable Education Paradigm

(August 26, 2013) — The web site www.AlternativesToSchool.com debuted today. Its mission is to spread the message that schools, by their very nature, fail children, who learn best when they are engaged in self-directed play and exploration. It also aims to serve as a practical guide for how this theory can be put into practice.

The site contains scholarly resources as well as a wealth of information about self-directed alternatives to schooling, such as democratic schools (where students control their own education) and home-based learning (including participation in local resource centers specifically catering to this group).

The site is a collective effort of private citizens — some of whom work in various aspects of education, and some of whom work in other fields — from around the country. It was conceived by a group of concerned private citizens, including Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College and the author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self Reliant, and Better Prepared for Life (Basic Books, 2013).

The web site’s launch date was chosen to coincide with the start of school in many jurisdictions around the United States. The site challenges this annual ritual with a provocative and counter-intuitive essay titled, “Why Children Would be Better Off NOT Going ‘Back to School’ This Fall.”

“Schools, by their very nature, fail students and society,” says Dr. Gray. “Instead of focusing on reforming schools, we should focus on transforming the entire education system, using a completely different paradigm that is in tune with how children were designed to learn everything they need to know: through self-directed play and exploration.”

An increasing number of American families have already been opting out of regular schools, and many have been finding their way to this other paradigm. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but the number of families who are doing self-directed learning at home has risen dramatically in the past decade. Dozens of “democratic schools” have opened across the country. Communities have also been creating innovative resource centers to support self-directed students.

“Because our current system of education is so ingrained in our society, most people have yet to realize how conventional schooling is holding back and even harming children,” says Dr. Gray. “Once they become aware of the stakes and the alternatives, we expect that the floodgates will open and people will make more informed and wise choices.”

PRESS CONTACT: Dr. Peter Gray, grayp@bc.edu.