Debate Magazine


By Stevemiranda

Last week, a PSCS student picked up some information that there was space available in a trapezing workshop later that day.

The information lit a fire under her. This was something she had been pursuing with interest for some time. The opportunity was hot, so she told a friend, and together they initiated a series of actions:

  • call parents and ask permission to attend the workshop
  • talk to their instructors for the last class slot in the day and ask permission to make up the class assignments for homework
  • arrange for payment for the trapezing class
  • arrange transportation to get to the class, as well as a ride home

The two students had a busy morning. But at 2:30, they left school early and, giddy with excitement, left school to pursue an exciting opportunity.

* * *

I tell people that the focus at PSCS is on helping students pursue activities that bring them joy, encouraging them to go after what they’re passionate about. Sometimes, I get the response: “Sure, that’s all fine and dandy, but what are they going to do when they get out in the real world? You know, in the real world, you don’t just get to do whatever you want.”

The thing that always strikes me about this remark is that we all just assume that school isn’t the real world.

For the kids in it, school is as “real world” as it gets. And students in the real world of traditional schooling are typically discouraged from pursuing a personal passion during school hours. Because of their design, structure, and value system, traditional schools limit what opportunities students can even see are available to them.

Students in the real world of progressive education don’t necessarily get to do anything they want. But they do internalize a belief that anything is possible.

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