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Pillars for Pioneers

The following ten pillars of the reforms advocated here are provided to succinctly outline the territory to be chartered.

Ten Pillars of Public Education Reform

  1. Public education systems comprised of community schools attended by all neighborhood children are not only the best way to educate children; they are also the best way to build the strong communities that form the backbone of a healthy society.
  2. Community schools can consist of schools within schools thereby making alternative learning environments readily available to all students.
  3. The route to evolutionary change involves real choices, but they do not include what is commonly known as “school choice”. Choices are offered within community schools with the options being equallyvisible and accessible to all students.
  4. Change is not dictated, and it is not driven by coercion. It is the result of awareness building, and the speed of change is determined by the readiness of people to adopt it.
  5. Reform can be accomplished through incremental change managed at a pace that does not scare away potential participants.
  6. A person’s education is not governed by majority rule, but rather by individual rights and freedoms.
  7. Age-segregation is an obstacle to children’s healthy development and must be discarded.
  8. Individual freedom to learn requires doing away with mass scheduling.
  9. Schools need to be small enough that nobody is anonymous.
  10. With today’s technology and a rethink of how to provide students with learning opportunities, small schools can expose students to a vast variety of quality learning experiences that far exceed those of any massive composite school.


Three reasons for establishing these pillars are summarized as follows:

Three Motivators Driving Democratic Reform Efforts

  1. The Need to Get It Right

Despite the determined, decades-long efforts of intelligent people to solve the problems in public education, the problems persist. A fundamentally different approach is required.

  1. The Need to Cut Costs

Tapscott and Caston in their book “Paradigm Shift” said: “If you want to control, you design organizations for accountability. If you want to accomplish, you design for commitment.” Accountability is expensive. It involves management layers along with constant assessment and record keeping. Autocratic school systems consequently direct large parts of school funding to pay for these coercive practices. Democratic systems operate with flattened hierarchies where the learners hold themselves accountable. This means that the cost of public education can be greatly reduced with no impact on the quality of learning and no tampering with student/teacher ratios.

  1. The Need to Cultivate a Strong Citizenry

Repeating from the introduction, if children are to be thoughtful citizens who assume responsibility for themselves and contribute to making the world a better place, then they need to live in democratic environments where they acquire the skills to effectively participate in decision-making while they develop the attitude that they can make a difference. Children with such skills will be valued citizens who do not add to the social costs incurred when schools fail them.

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