While it would be great if policymakers and professional educators at all levels read the arguments spelled out on this site and immediately adopted a belief in the right and power of people of all ages to direct their own education, it is highly unlikely that most people with a stake in maintaining the status quo will embrace change quite so readily. Fortunately, that’s not a prerequisite for change, because the impetus can also come from outside the system. Change comes in two ways: trends and grander disruptive events. There is already a trend toward self-directed learning. Although there are no hard numbers, there is ample evidence that the number of families practicing this approach at home is growing steadily. Many democratic schools and resource centers catering to self-directed learners have also opened in recent years, and more are in the planning stages around the country (many of them are being started by teachers committed to helping children learn, and frustrated by the current system). The stage has been set for a grander disruptive event (or series of such events) to effect mass transformation in short order. Some relevant disruptive events have already begun, such as the rise of low-cost but high-quality online learning opportunities. Hopefully this web site can serve as another such catalyst, by bringing these views to the attention of the general public (including parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens), to prompt them to consider the viewpoint, and the supporting data, that represent self-directed learning and the benefits it offers to society as a whole, as well as to their own children. At some point in the not-so-distant future, forced schooling will likely go the way of other experiments that society has found severely wanting.
January 16, 2014