A Response to “Let Kids Rule”Posted: March 16, 2011
I read with interest the Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times, “Let Kids Rule the School.”
It is greatly encouraging to read about the Independent Project. But while I read it I wondered, why just 8 kids? Why not a whole class, whole grade, or even a whole school? Why only high schoolers?
There’s one place in New York City that supports, facilitates and nurtures this kind of educational freedom, where students truly are the “authors of their own education,” as Ms. Engel referred to the students in the Independent Project. And at this school all students from 5 years old to 19, are pursuing their own curriculum in the academic arena as well as social and emotional areas. At this school all students have one vote, equal to everyone else’s vote, and make real decisions about how their school is run every week. This school is Brooklyn Free School.
The future of education, and indeed the long term sustainability of our society, is tied to our ability to provide an environment that is conducive to supporting the autonomy of each individual student to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them–to have many opportunities to discover their passions while at the same time learning how to build and sustain a democratic community through cooperation, not competition.
Alan P. Berger
Founder and Director,
Brooklyn Free School