Ideal Purposes of Schools: Readers Weigh In

About 170 readers responded to my request to describe the ideal purposes of schools. Their responses, taken all together, produce a vision that is worthy of serious consideration.

What Are the Proper Purposes of a System of Schooling?

Our compulsory school system was designed, long ago, for very specific purposes. Those purposes may now be outdated. What should be the purposes of a system of schooling today?

Social Norms, Moral Judgments, and Irrational Parenting

We are all conformists; it’s part of human nature. But sometimes our conformist nature leads us to do things that are downright silly or, worse, tragic.

Childrearing Beliefs Were Best Predictor of Trump Support

By assessing the mindset of Trump's earliest supporters, this political scientist predicted that Trump would do far better in the election than most at that time believed.

A Frugal Man’s Guide to Happiness and Health

If I decide to make a million dollars by publishing Gray’s Guide to Health, Happiness, and Financial Security, the key points will be: ....

Why Our Coercive System of Schooling Should Topple

Our coercive system of K-12 schooling has reached the breaking point. It's breaking too many kids. It never worked well, but we've increased its weight to a pathological level.

Instead of “Job Creation,” How About Less Work?

If we could solve the distribution problem, we could create a world in which we all worked much less and played much more. Is that a world to be desired? Yes!!

The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It

Here are the lessons that children learn best in interactions with other children, away from adults. If we want our children to become adults, we must preserve childhood culture.

Biological Foundations for Self-Directed Education

Self-directed education—as it occurs in unschooling families and at democratic schools--operates by allowing these four natural drives to flourish. ....

What If Medicine’s First Principle Were Also Education’s?

If standard schooling were a drug, it would have to come with a lot of warnings, if it were permitted at all. There's no evidence that it works better than a placebo.

Alison Gopnik’s Advice to Parents: Stop Parenting!

Everything Professor Gopnik says in The Gardener and the Carpenter indicates that our schooling system is very very wrong. So why does she point her finger at parents, not schools?

They Dream of School, and None of the Dreams Are Good

I don’t know why these particular dream themes are so common. How sad, though, that schooling, which is more or less required by law, produces a lifetime of bad dreams.

Do You Have a Recurring School Dream? Tell Me About It

Dreams about being a student in school are very common, even for people who have been out of school for a long time. If you have had such a dream more than once, describe it here.

Inverse Relationship Between GPA and Innovative Orientation

Ironically and tragically, rather than adapt our educational system to the needs of our modern times we have doubled down on the old system, so it is ...

ADHD, Creativity, and the Concept of Group Intelligence

In an experiment, groups containing a person with ADHD symptoms showed more off-task behavior, but were much better at solving problems than groups with no such person.

One Man’s Way to Create Neighborhood Play for His Kids

When Mike Lanza became a father 11 years ago, he was determined to provide his son—and now his three sons—with a childhood of play.

Why No-Nonsense Classrooms Are Less Terrible Than Usual Ones

Recently, we've heard of the success of "no-nonsense teaching." Here's what I like about it. It makes no bones about the fact that children are little prisoners who must ....

The Good Enough Parent Is the Best Parent

The best parent is not the one who parents most, and certainly not the one who parents least, but the one who parents just the right amount. "Good enough parents" strive to....

Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives

The high rates of emotional disorders and problems among college students have generated concern. Here I present views about the sources of students’ emotional difficulties.

Helicopter Parenting & College Students’ Increased Neediness

College counseling services report increases in emotional fragility in students. What is the evidence that these changes are the result of a rise in helicopter parenting?

Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Mental-health problems are at an all-time high among college students. In addition, there has been a sharp decline in students' abilities to deal with setbacks of everyday life.

Do First Amendment Rights Apply to Students in School?

In this interview, conducted by guest blogger Alex Walker, the founder of Free Student Press, David Krane, explains that student free speech is legally protected by the first amendment, but students must fight for that protection. School officials typically do everything they can to prevent students from knowing about and exercising their constitutional rights.

K & Preschool Teachers: Last Stand in War on Childhood?

Children are no longer free to roam, play, and explore on their own, as they are designed by nature to do. The last bastion in the battle to preserve childhood appears to be be....

How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development

In the absence of an appropriate intellectual foundation and motivation to learn, students acquire academic skills by rote, in shallow, meaningless ways. This not only wastes students' time, but can cause serious harm to their future intellectual and academic development. Here's some of the evidence.

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm

Many preschool and kindergarten teachers are extremely upset by the increased pressure to teach literary and numerical skills to little children and test them regularly. They can see firsthand the unhappiness generated, and they suspect that the children would be learning much more useful lessons by playing. Their suspicions are well validated by research studies.

Meet Danielle Meitiv: Fighting for Her Kids’ Rights

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have been giving their children some of the same freedom that they themselves enjoyed as children, in a world that is safer than the one in which they grew up. As a consequence, they have been visited by police, and the county Child Protective Services have threatened to take their children away. Here is my interview with Danielle.

Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

Adam Eichenbaum, Daphne Bavelier, and C. Shawn Green have, in a recent review article, summarized a growing mountain of evidence for long-lasting positive effects of video-game play on basic mental processes--such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making--regarded by some as the building blocks of intelligence.

Spread the Word: Feb 4 is Global School Play Day

The Bedley brothers (Tim and Scott), who are both teachers in California, have started a movement, and it seems to be taking off. They have declared Feb. 4, 2015, to be the first annual Global School Play Day. Let's do everything we can to support it!

Manifesto 15: Triggering the Education Revolution

On January 1, 2015, John Moravec, a philosopher of education and world traveler, sent out a manifesto about the future of education. It has caught on and spread far more rapidly than he could have imagined it might. Within days, it was read by people in 84 countries and translated into seven languages (with more translations on the way). Read it here and send it on!

Sonnet to a Playful God

One of my secret pleasures (well, it was secret up until now) is writing sonnets. I love to play within the boundaries of the classic Shakespearian sonnet. Here's one I wrote about the value of play.

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