Making School Optional for Everyone – Talk by Kenneth Danford

Kenneth Danford, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Sunderland, Massachusetts, gave a talk at the Thrive 2020 Conference held in Guernsey, UK, on October 17, 2015.

Kenneth’s talk was titled “Making School Optional for Everyone,” and featured the personal stories of three North Star alumni and one current member. These stories and the overall presentation build on our awareness that young people are natural learners, and that what they need from adults, above all else, is trust. Teens also need caring adults to provide the space and the opportunities for learning. Kenneth argues that inviting teens to learn, while being prepared to accept “No” as an answer, is the core of adult mentoring in this model. The speech provides a suggestion for how the people of Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, might use their legal autonomy to become a model for the world.

Is the American School System Damaging Our Kids? – Reader’s Digest

Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that formal education is what kids need to become productive, happy adults… Read article

Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less – The Independent

I’m a research bio-psychologist with a PhD, so I’ve done lots of school. I’m a pretty good problem-solver, in my work and in the rest of my life, but that has little to do with the schooling I’ve had… Read article

Steve Hargadon: Escaping the Education Matrix – MindShift

“We tell a story about the power of learning that is very different from what we practice in traditional models of school,” says Steve Hargadon… Read article

Would You Send Your Kids to a School Where Students Make the Rules? – New Republic

One December morning, Ellie, my kindergartener, woke up and, on hearing that school was canceled because of imminent snowfall, decided to draw a picture for her teacher of a gingerbread man missing a toe, with an explanatory caption… Read article

Harnessing Children’s Natural Ways of Learning – Article in MindShift

Fed up with the restrictions at his conventional school, 10-year-old Scott Gray convinced his parents to transfer him to one where children control their own education… Read article

By Luba Vangelova


How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses – Wired Magazine

José Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs… Read article

BBC Panel featuring Dr. Peter Gray

BBC World Service—World Update program

Interview with Dr. Peter Gray on afternoon drive program

KRBZ 96.5FM—Kansas City

Interview with Dr. Peter Gray

Tune in on Talk 910am San Francisco with Gil Gross.

On September 4th.