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Lives of Passion, School of Hope: How One Public School Ignites a Lifelong Love of Learning Paperback – November 15, 2009
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This book reaffirms one's faith in the power of public education and illustrates how the creative spirit of educators and the intelligence, passion, and engagement of students can lead to learning on the highest level. -- Herbert Kohl, author of 36 Children
For everyone suffocating in the shroud of institutional schooling this wonderful book is a breath of fresh air. It will inspire you with courage. Read it for all our sakes. -- John Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down
Lives of Passion, School of Hope is a refreshing antidote to the arid and pinched view of education and school reform suffocating and strangling any clear thinking in the public square today. Rick Posner offers us an expansive vision of human possibilities, and reminds us that the deepest purposes of schooling in (and for) a vibrant democracy must always point toward the development of initiative, imagination, passion and compassion, creativity and courage. In this essential and urgent book Posner illuminates the vital work of a single school, and maps a way out of the mess we're in. -- William Ayers, author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher
These are the stories that need to reach the public's ear, and help us remember where it is we are trying to go--and why! Such alternative schools haven't disappeared, but their stories too often have. They must become the pilots for the future--schools to argue about and learn from. A refreshingly clear account of what schools can mean to young people's real life futures. -- Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas
Lives of Passion, School of Hope proves that a public alternative school can provide self-directed, experiential learning for its students instead of teaching to the test. It also shows there are many different paths to becoming a successful adult other than simply being an A student in a conventional school. -- Patrick Farenga, co-author of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling
From the Publisher
Although there has been no dearth of criticism of the move toward standardization, there have been few examples offered of schools that are different and that really work, and those have focused on the schools themselves, not on the long-term effects of the programs. Lives of Passion is the first book in sixty years to examine the lasting effects of alternative schooling.
Top customer reviews
1 important element of the Open School is the "Walkabout" program which requires students to undertake 6 Passages which involved self-designed projects in 6 areas: Adventure; Career exploration; Creativity; Global awareness; Logical inquiry; and Practical skills.
There are 5 goals for students -
* Rediscover the joy of learning
* Engage in the search for meaning in your life
* Adapt to the world that is
* Prepare for the world that might be
* Help create the world that ought to be
And 3 dimensions the school helps each student work on: personal, social & intellectual.
A couple reservations re the author's methodology - 1st, the school is pre-K-12 but the book seems to focus mostly on the high school. 2nd, this account is based on surveys of alumni + interviews with them (431 responses which is about 43% of alumni from 1976-2002) - draws extensively on material from these surveys; responses of the alumni who responded were mostly positive but there is no way to know if respondents were representative of all alumni - I found myself wondering at times.
My evaluation - this book got me thinking about the basic issue of what school, especially at the secondary level, ought to be about. The answer should be, preparing students for life. Find myself agreeing pretty wholeheartedly with the author, that something has been lost in the NCLB era as schools focus more and more intensively on getting basic reading & math skills across. ("With all the talk about school accountability these days, no one seems to be asking about a student's accountability to herself and her responsibility for her own education. And who is accountable to the individual student?")
They did what every young person in America ought to be able to do. It's heartening
to know there are still some sane minds out there on the subject of education. Dr.
Posner is surely one of them. He inserts his own personality gently, letting the
students hum and strum on their own much of the time. His writing is clear and
to the point. The academicians need to re-think our entire public school system.
I applaud Dr.Posner for his efforts in presenting us with the inspiring example
offered us by this Jefferson County, Colorado public school. Hopefully, it will
serve to inject some fresh thinking into the dismal sounding debates over the future
of education in this nation. I might add that the book is a pleasure to read. This
is not 'for educators only'. This speaks to all of us. Check it out!