Reactions to Brooklyn Free School on “This American Life”

I recently heard a piece on your school on NPR. I have to say I am FASCINATED. I am in my first year of teaching and I am ever more discouraged by teachers, parents, and other educating officials about the freedoms of student-driven education. Your methods, from my understanding, are very much in line with my beliefs on education and I find myself feeling empowered by the work you are doing with these students. Thank you so much for your time and your dedication to the philosophy to show what “real” education can do for kids.

Our family happened to hear the segment on This American Life and found it truly inspiring.  Our 12 year old is unschooled and after hearing the show I asked him if he would like to attend a school like that and he said definitely!

…heard about your school today while driving in the car listening to This American Life.  Just this morning I wrote an impassioned email to a friend on the topic of “The Battle Hymn of the Dragon Mother” and I found This American Life’s story on your school to be a fascinating counterpoint to Amy Chua’s perspective. I live in small-town Oklahoma (in a poor, rural community where we run our schools like prisons and many students respond like inmates) and wish we had something like BFS here.

I listened to This American Life and was moved … you all are doing a great job! Best wishes and continued success.

I think the show was lovely, and a really great tribute to the school.  It showed the democratic process in all its complexity and it was still inspiring, especially after those other two segments of letting students “judge for themselves” in more conventional educational settings (the Reagan library and global warming education).  In contrast, the BFS students had *real* decisions to make and that was empowering even when it was “just talk,” as Malia explained so articulately. It’s a credit to all your hard work and patience!

I am dissatisfied with the teaching methods, social economic pecking order and the history texts that are being imposed my children’s education.  I found out about your school just recently on This American Life, and I am interested on how I can implement a branch or twig of similar way of teaching in my area.  I am not sure if this kind of thought can be easily implemented in a private or public school agendas, but I am interested in how I can start a chapter or sorts….

I heard your school on This American Life. And I want to know where in the hell do I join the” Curran” fan club. Who in the hell are his parents and where in the hell can I see what he looks like….. Been a week and I’m still chuckling at: “Whoever the hell made up these curse words is really wrong”. Keep up the good work.

I am a graduate student in Second Language Studies, and I was impressed by your school’s appearance on This American Life.  How would you recommend I prepare myself for a career teaching at a free school?

I heard the story on This American Life yesterday while driving to the airport to pick up an actor who is working with us this winter.  Like so many other listeners I’m sure, the piece filled me with excitement, hope and curiosity.  I attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, a place you might be familiar with, and one that opened many of the ideas embraced by BFS to me. Till now, however, this approach of intellectual freedom has been contained to secondary education – the prejudice being that it takes a certain ‘maturity’ to handle the independence, etc.  It seems like you all are working beautifully at challenging and correcting this assumption.

Heard about your school on WNYC “This American Life” today. I’m a Brooklyn native and resident. I’m an opera singer and I’d be happy to do a class or meeting with students. I could sing a little and/or talk about a career in the arts. Best wishes.

To hear the original broadcast: click here. The Brooklyn Free School segment starts at 38:00 minutes in.


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