The DeSchoolers of the 1960's

Some of the most radical and free-thinking educational critics of the 20th century said that we go to school to “be instructed on our own inferiority.” Schools As Colonizers: The Deschoolers of the 1960s, by Kirsten Olsen (VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller e.K., 2008) examines the problems of institutionalized education from the vantage of the 1960s’ and 70s’ most eloquent voices:

• John Holt, author of Teach Your Own, How Children Learn, How Children Fail, and several other books

• Ivan Illich, author of Deschooling Society, Tools for Conviviality and many other books

• Paul Goodman, author of Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized System and many other books

• Jonathan Kozol, author of Free Schools, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools Illiterate America, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation and many other books

• Herb Kohl, author of 36 Children, The Open Classroom and many other books

• George Dennison, author of The Lives of Children

In the 1960s and early 70s this influential group of education writers wrote accessibly, for the everyday reader, about the colonizing and radically unequalizing effects of institutionalized education on students and adults. To these critics schools were not benign, apple-on-the-desk acculturating institutions where children could innocently be sent each day to learn the skills they needed to succeed in a meritocratic society. Instead they were organizations designed to colonize, imprint, and shape from within the most vulnerable and least powerful individuals in our culture. This book examines the biographies of six important deschooling critics, their questions about the purposes of education, and the nature of powerful learning in their eyes. The book also asks, ‘what do the deschoolers have to tell us now?’

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3 Responses to The DeSchoolers of the 1960's

  1. Jeanne on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Just by chance, one of the first things I ever read about homeschooling was Illich’s Deschooling Society. What a funny thing to find in a small-town library in North Carolina that did not have any “getting started” homeschooling books. I remember being shocked and fascinated in about equal parts, and so much I later found about homeschooling connected to Illich.

  2. Susan Hammack on February 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Is this book available yet?

  3. Janet from Creative Writing on March 3, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Having read several of the authors above, I would be interested to read Kirsten Olsen’s viewpoint of their works and their effect on society.

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