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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Choice and Education

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John Stossel writes of one Cade Summers, who floundered in public school and -- like one in five school-aged boys -- ended up on medications to help him pay attention. This was ineffective, as was trying several different schools: He hated all of them.

Then his parents sent him to a private school with an entrepreneurial focus, where the prospect of making money completely changed Summers's attitude. The end of the piece is especially thought-provoking:

study.jpg
This is easier and comes more naturally when there are values at stake. (Image by Wokandapix, via Pixabay (license).)
[Academy of Thought and Industry founder Michael] Strong is proud of students like Summers who flourish at Thought and Industry after struggling at regular schools. He described one who, in New Jersey's public schools, "needed a full-time aide. He was costing the state an enormous amount of money. He came to our school, he did not need an aide."

It's true. We interviewed that student. He told us: "In middle school, elementary school, I was incredibly socially isolated... Coming here is just healing."

The key for him, and many, was following his own interests, rather than following orders.

That's what motivated Cade Summers to get up at 3 a.m. to work in that coffee shop.

"It was me choosing my life," he says.
The school, which is primarily for children of high school age, reminds me a little of Van Damme Academy (which serves younger children and has a very different focus). The similarity lies in an active attempt to engage the student's interest while respecting and promoting their independent judgement. The philosopher and energy activist Alex Epstein has called the latter "the school the world needs to know about." I agree, but perhaps this school is another.

-- CAV

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