For all of its promotion of democracy and self-determination, the free-school model still faces one large question: What about the kid who wants to play video games all day?
“It might be video games nonstop for four months, making the parents flip out,” Michelle Loucas said.
After those four months, she explained, the child has learned three things: He can master something, he is confident he can apply this success to any other topic, and the school community has proved to him that it trusts him to make his own decisions.
Not everyone can be home/unschooled; and not every child wants to be. And not every parent is equipped to facilitate them, although most parents that think they don’t have what it takes, actually do.
For these kids, Free schools are a great option. Honestly, I dream of a day when this is the default learning model in this country. It’s crazy that in a free and democratic society, most of our children don’t get to experience democracy or self-determination directly until they are out of high school. Is it any wonder that people lose faith in the system and behave as a sheep-like mob?
This is what I mean when I say we must replace the system, not reform it. Our schools were structured to create a docile workforce that would take orders and behave according to class. It doesn’t matter what subjects are taught, the structural lessons are always the same: stay in your group, obey the bell, let someone else determine your direction – and any input you have is purely advisory. For a free and responsible society, and for the knowledge workers that this country now needs to produce, we need to schools that inspire initiative and show kids that “yes they can” – that they have personal power and can use it for the good of themselves and others.