Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quotes from Deborah Meier's "In Schools We Trust"

What I offer as a teacher, after all, is not just an acceptable babysitting experience but rather, like my doctor, professional expertise.
In some ways these experiences confirmed my support for parental choice in education - for shopping around, getting second opinions, and above all being allowed to select a school that matched a parents' biases and inclinations. I saw no contradiction between this and support for public education. Public schools simply had to be redesigned to offer families more choices,just as medicine should.
We also picked up on a successful (Central Park East Secondary School) practice - community service. Invented as much to provide teachers with free time as anything, it turned out to have life-changing repercussions for entirely different reasons. Over the four years that students spend doing community service, almost all, according to interviews conducted in later years, had built at least one relationship with an adult that helped them get into college, find a job, build a network in the larger world.
The Mission Hill school, like many of the other small schools I know, was deliberately designed designed to make it hard for the adult culture and the youth culture to hang apart for long. We even tried to make it easy for the high school and elementary school to exchange people and ideas. ...Even in terms of physical space, we thought about how to make the generations overlap. ...The grown-up behind-the-scenes life of the school is made visible and touchable.
We have to trust students' drive to learn, because it is the greater part of what we have going for us.

Deborah Meier
--In Schools We Trust

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