SELF-DIRECTED EDUCATION AVAILABLE FOR ALL
The Alliance for
CONCERN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
A fundamental premise of the Alliance is that young people are people, with dignity, preferences, individual self-expression, needs that include a need for a safe and supportive social system, and rights to conditions supporting their fullest development. Children’s rights are human rights, but many contemporary practices and policies prioritize adult comfort and interest in datafication over the well-being of young people. One example is the widespread practice of mandating participation in top-down schooling systems focused on sorting, competition, and control. An environment in which someone cannot say “no” and have that boundary respected is one in which consent does not exist, which is why we refer to such school environments as “coercive schools.” Imposing coercive schooling systems violates the rights of children and families. Coercive schooling systems represent at best arbitrary interference with the liberty of protected parties, and at worst, institutionalized rights violations with explicit genocidal intent. If there were evidence that some system of coercive schooling were necessary to ensure dignity, promote self-reliance, facilitate active participation in community, and generally support the best welfare and development of those it is imposed on, mandating such a system might be justifiable. As explained elsewhere in this website, there is no such evidence and there is much evidence to the contrary.
Many of our organizers came to self-directed education through asking what approach to education does honor young people’s rights and support them in the fullest development of their personalities and talents. We learned from young people, the experiences of generations of people raised outside the bounds of coercive schooling, and research on child development; we ended up here, and as we’ve kept learning the choice has just gotten clearer. Further, considering that young people, like all people, live embedded in social systems where the denial of respect, opportunity, and power to some groups diminishes the possibilities available to all, creating a world where SDE is an option for all necessarily includes creating a world where impact of a matrix of domination no longer distorts and constrains the options young people self-direct among. This is work we are committed to continuing to learn and grow in service of.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT
The term Alliance in the organization’s name emphasizes its commitment to bringing together various organizations and individuals who are already actively practicing, advocating for, and enabling young people’s self-determination in their lives, learning, and paths. While our focus on
The Alliance was formed to give lift to the movement by offering an introduction to and information about
The Alliance is financed entirely by donations from individuals and organizations who support the cause of
Read about our initiatives.