Freedom Schooling


by Mary Berry - 1978

Freedom Schooling challenges the very existence of the American education lockstep structure in an alternative format that seeks to respond to both the academic and the financial problems we now experience. It deserves consideration and discussion.

There is a growing concern in this country that the quality of education in our public schools may have declined over the past ten to fifteen years. These concerns are expressed in proposed national legislation establishing educational proficiency standards and lawsuits brought against schools alleging incompetence, irresponsibility, and malpractice.


There is cause for that concern. Evidence suggests that there has been a decline in the standards of student accomplishment. There are confirmed reports of grade inflation and a decline in standardized test scoring. There are recurring complaints from the business community and the military that many of their recruits are incompetent in the basic educational skills.


As the launching of Sputnik prompted a reevaluation of school content and structure that has influenced changes in the educational field in the past twenty years, this current public concern must be translated into significant improvements in tomorrow's education.


The national dialogue stemming from these concerns on education already has bred action at the Federal level, where legislation intended to buttress the basic quality of our schools has been proposed.


It is in this spirit that I view the concept of freedom schooling as a welcome addition in this national dialogue. It speaks to some of the basic questions with which we must now concern ourselves. What are the purposes of public education? How do we improve student competency? How should our schools be structured? How do we deal with the rising cost of education in a Proposition 13 political climate? How does education relate to other social institutions around it? It is important that we again address some of these vital issues in the current context of our social and political worlds.


The Freedom Schooling Proposal of Professor Vincent Franklin and Ronald Batchelor offers a very thought-provoking, innovative, and promising model for motivating students in urban schools, while responding to precisely the sort of questions we need to address today.


Freedom Schooling challenges the very existence of the American education lockstep structure in an alternative format that seeks to respond to both the academic and the financial problems we now experience. It deserves consideration and discussion.


May the national dialogue on the improvement of American education continue in such inspired and exciting proposals for the future.



Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 80 Number 2, 1978, p. 223-224
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 1062, Date Accessed: 10/24/2021 6:16:19 PM

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