Scouting for a School Series (SSS): Choosing a School for the Wrong Reasons

When I look at the votes in our poll recently, I noticed that a lot of our readers are parents. Well, parents, this may be a difficult pill to swallow.. but a healthy pill, nonetheless. This may help you in choosing a school for your child or help you in the school where you are currently in.

Alfie Kohn, a speaker advocating progressive education, talks about non-progressive parents existing in progressive schools. I want to give this guy a standing ovation with this paragraph alone..

“The problem with almost any of these criteria for sending kids to a school is that you end up with parents who are impressed by the wrong things. I was in a classroom recently at a progressive school where, during a parents’ potluck breakfast, the Moms and Dads were glowing over the fact that their kids could spell “Australopithecus” or knew some obscure fact that the parents themselves didn’t know. “Isn’t that a wonderful education?” Of course, that’s not necessarily very impressive at all. But if we haven’t made a good match and helped to educate parents, as well as allowing them to educate us about what’s good for kids, you end up with parents who are worried about the very best features and who start to exert pressure, especially as the kids get older, for a more traditional kind of education because they didn’t come to the school for the right reasons in the first place.”

Parents, you may be asking what the right reasons are.. well, that’s what the blog is for.. to help you find out.. However, I do know this for sure. Don’t seek a progressive school having traditional expectations. It doesn’t add up.

My advise to school teachers and administrators is to prioritize your parent orientation. Encourage your parents to attend. In our school, we started to have intimate parent interviews prior to enrollment to ask the reason they chose the school and their expectations from it. It helps in preventing traditional expectations in the future. We learned this from experience 😉