(First written 4/28/07)
Next to us in the campground at Arches National Park was a group of twenty or so youngsters and staff from the Jefferson County (CO) Open School. Given his long-standing interest in open schools, Bill went a-visiting and came back with a brochure for me to read. The kids were at Arches on a geology field trip. According to its brochure, the 500-student school (K-12) is in its 35th year and explicitly seeks to achieve impressive goals for its students:
- Discover the joy of learning;
- Seek meaning in your life;
- Experience the world that is;
- Prepare for the world that might be; and
- Create the world that ought to be.
Through a program of self-directed learning, students learn to think and apply knowledge, develop a strong sense of self, and create and maintain healthy relationships. They set goals, plan and carry out projects, and evaluate their own performance. Six “Passages” are required for graduation:
- Career Exploration;
- Global Awareness;
- Logical Inquiry; and
- Practical Skills.
Would that all children could be exposed to such a rich educational environment. The primary obstacle it seems to me is the lack of political vision and will, wherein each child is valued for his/her uniqueness. If we want to change the world, we need to change the way we raise our children. The Jefferson County Open School is making a valiant start.