SELF-DIRECTED EDUCATION AVAILABLE FOR ALL
The Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to informing people about the benefits of, and methods for, allowing children and adolescents to direct their own education. The Alliance’s ultimate goal, its vision, is a world in which Self-Directed Education is embraced as a cultural norm and is available to all children, everywhere, regardless of their family’s status, race, or income.
CONCERN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
A fundamental premise of the Alliance is that top-down, coercive systems of schooling, imposed by states and nations, violate the human rights of children and families to direct their own lives, learning, and paths to adulthood. If there were evidence that coercive schooling were necessary for the welfare of the people on whom it is inflicted, such a system might be justifiable; but, as explained elsewhere in this website, there is no such evidence and there is much evidence to the contrary.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT
The term Alliance in the organization’s name emphasizes its goal of bringing together the various organizations and individuals who are already actively promoting and enabling Self-Directed Education. The founders of the Alliance recognize that there are many flavors and manifestations of Self-Directed Education, including several varieties of SDE-aligned schools, learning centers, and homeschooling.
A goal of the Alliance is to create a collaborative space where we can all link arms, learn from one another, and collectively amplify the truth that is common to all of our experiences — that Self-Directed Education works! Success in achieving our common vision will depend, in large part, on the numbers of people who take an active stand and work together to support the movement.
The movement away from coercive schooling toward Self-Directed Education has been inching along for decades. It has not yet taken flight because (a) most people still don’t know about Self-Directed Education or about the success of those who have taken this route; and (b) most who do know about it shy away from it because it seems so “non-normal.”
So, the Alliance is designed to give wings to the movement by (a) using all means possible to spread the word about Self-Directed Education and its success, and (b) normalizing Self-Directed Education by making it a brand, showing how it is done, publicizing the research evidence of its success, and connecting people to the tens of thousands of families happily pursuing this route.
The Alliance is financed entirely by donations from individuals and organizations who support the cause of Self-Directed Education. All members of the Board of Directors are volunteers, who receive no financial remuneration for their work for the Alliance. Donations to the Alliance are tax deductible and allow the Board to hire freelance consultants to manage projects that would not be feasible on a purely volunteer basis.
The organizing team for the Alliance, working behind the scenes to manage the website and help augment the voices and experiences of those in the Self-Directed Education movement everywhere, includes, at present, the following people:
(in alphabetical order)
I’m a writer, mama, partner, digital nomad, and unschooling activist. I produce podcasts, books, classes, and articles on radical self-expression in practice and in study. Find my conversations and commentary at akilahrichards.com/podcast where I aim to support, connect, and highlight people of color designing their own liberation through Self-Directed Education and love-centered community building.
I am a born and raised unschooler: my first school was college. My SDE experience has influenced me to become an advocate for SDE for all. I have been helping others learn in a variety of ways, including teaching Martial Arts since I was 14 years old. I currently work in a play-based early learning center in Seattle and I'm working on a graduate degree at Portland State University. I also write, present, and facilitate workshops on early education. You can see some of my work on my blog, Ars Vigeo.
I’m a Sudbury Valley School graduate. I went on to study political theory at Eugene Lang and received my MPA at the Baruch School of Public Affairs. My interests lie in developing SDE-based opportunities that would be accessible to all families and creating sustainable SDE organizations. I’m currently working as a nonprofit consultant and writer and living with my partner, another SVS graduate, in Santa Cruz, CA.
I am a documentary filmmaker, writer, and academic lecturer. I directed The War on Kids, and authored The Student Resistance Handbook. As a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, my focus is youth rights and enlightening people on the abusive practices that define compulsory schooling.
I am a lawyer and children’s rights activist. My firsthand experience of the psychological and legal harms caused by mainstream schooling led me to join the unschooling movement. I run Dida Academy in Brooklyn, NY. I want to promote greater legal status for children, including the right to vote, exercise free speech, and make important personal decisions.
I am a co-founder, with Laura Kriegel, of Stomping Ground, an overnight camp. Stomping Ground is dedicated to re-imaging what is possible when children and adults, from diverse communities, including diverse educational backgrounds, partner together to live in empathy and self-direction. I believe in finding new and creative ways to let families discover and experiment with Self-Directed Education.
I am a Creative Director and co-founder of Biff Niff, a small agency in New York specializing in children's interactive media. Through my work I have come to understand that true learning warrants play, choice and freedom. I also believe that it is a First Amendment right to decide what, when and with whom you learn new things. Children have this right too, because kids are people!
I first became interested in schooling alternatives while studying education policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. That led me to discover the promise of Self-Directed Education for all children. I now spend my days as an unschooling mom to four never-been-schooled children in Cambridge, MA, and blog regularly at Whole Family Learning.
As a visual artist, I am constantly testing different ways of expressing ideas, thoughts, and feelings through a variety of mediums. I co-founded Camp Stomping Ground, with Jack Schott, to provide a space for young people of different backgrounds to live in a self-determined, radically empathetic environment where we re-imagine a more perfect world.
I'm a writer, activist, and recovering academic who is de-schooling myself while unschooling my two children in suburban Philadelphia. I wear many hats, but my day job is working with "new story" author and speaker Charles Eisenstein as his "Chief Plate-Spinner and External Hard-drive." I write about unschooling and other topics on my blog Personal Mycology and on Shareable.com
I bring more than 35 years of fieldwork, advocacy, and personal experience in homeschooling and alternative education to help parents and children learn in their own ways. I continued to publish Growing Without Schooling magazine after the death of its founder in 1985, the author/teacher John Holt, until 2001. I publish JohnHoltGWS.com and several books and articles about learning outside of school.
I’m a research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of a widely used college introductory psychology textbook (now in its 7th edition). Much of my research focuses on children’s natural ways of learning and the experiences of people who have taken a self-directed route to their education. I’m author of the book Free to Learn and a blogger for Psychology Today magazine.
I’m a parenting coach, author, speaker, and father of two self-educated, young-adult children. I’m best known for my book and blog, The Daily Groove, through which I help parents cultivate a mindset of creative partnership — with children and in general. I’ve introduced many parents to SDE and witnessed the transformation of their families. It’s truly amazing!
As a systems thinker, I came up with my own solution to individual learning at AllNewPublicEducation.com and began to find others who believed in Self-Directed Education as the future. Ultimately, I desire to reverse the negative consequences of denying individuals the environment each needs to develop as a well-rounded human: play, respect, freedom to learn as they wish, and opportunity to apply themselves to their calling.
I have been facilitating in Self-Directed Education environments since 2009. I helped birth the first Agile Learning Center in NYC and served as the Director for three years. I now live in Charlotte, NC where I work and play at ALC Mosaic. I want to help organize a coherent movement for Self-Directed Education, because I believe trusting children is the most powerful catalyst for social change.