My friend Scott sent me this TED talk by a 13-year-old unschooler who is hacking his education.
It's worth 11 minutes of your time.
My friend Scott sent me this TED talk by a 13-year-old unschooler who is hacking his education.
It's worth 11 minutes of your time.
Until Horace Mann really began proliferating public schools for the uneducated masses of agrarian children moving off the farms to the urban centers of New England to help fill factory positions during the 2nd Industrial Revolution, the vast majority of children that received any kind of education were homeschooled (and anyone with any kind of money DEFINITELY homeschooled their kids). So I don't find this kid's approach particularly inspiring or innovative. He comes from a literate, two-parent, English-speaking, middle to upper-middle class background in a rural area (looks like somewhere in Nevada). I'd wager he probably never had to worry a day in his life where his next meal came from or if his parents were going to get evicted for not paying rent. He probably had books in his home his entire life and new how to read (or at least rudimentary reading skills) before even walking through the school door in pre-K or Kindergarten. He went to school until he was 9 (3rd grade-ish), so all the basic literacy and math skills were already acquired. Dad's probably a dentist or electrical engineer. Mom's probably graduated cum laude and got a Masters in art history or comparative lit. So if this kid's ski career tanks, he can fall back on his parents' income for a year while backpacking through Europe and figuring out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Worse comes to worst, he can always go to his safety school: UNLV. Most kids in America are not this privileged. I find many/most TED Talks frustrating (and borderline nauseating) for this reason: privileged people talking to privileged people about how awesome their approach is and how easy everything could be if the ignorant masses would just follow their lead. Give me a TED Talk where my female Bengali student with a learning disability and two illiterate, non-English speaking parents who work 60-70 hours a week (dad as a janitor; mom at Dunkin Donuts) to make ends meet living in the middle of New York City can speak to the audience about quitting traditional schooling and achieving the same results. Then I'd change my tune.
Well I think that is the point, Mrt432. This kids parents were smart enough to allow their child to explore alternative routes of thinking, because mom (the one with the masters in art history or comparative lit) and dad (the electrical engineer) also utilized alternatives routes of thinking AND opportunities afforded to them in the first place, be it money or personal life-choices. If a couple has a child with a learning disability and decides that the best choice is to struggle in the systematic rat-race and live in the most expensive city in USA while working dead-end jobs, then that couple has never even thought of alternative routes of thinking, which would explain why they can't find alternative ways of living that don't involve slavery and isolation. For example, communal living (just off the top of my head but there are countless alternatives) could be a great way to find more time to devote to educating oneself, because that is what this kid is talking about; educating oneself. Why live alone in new York city when there are countless communal living situations all over the country that can help stimulate social growth and education through personal experience, as well as free up personal time to devote to study? Because traditional school doesn't allow people to think on these levels. Traditional schools are capitalistic, as you pointed out in your initial statement about Horace Mann, and those schools don't endorse or teach about alternative ways of life besides the capitalist route. This fake family you described, (which, by the way, there are 2, because not only have you created a fictional distressed family, but you also assumed a lot about an existing family, a tactic used by those who can't back up their argument with facts and real examples, like this kid is) anyway, this fake family you described, which is actually a sad reality, is an example of how our education system has failed us. Had these people been taught what this kid speaks of, learning how to be happy and healthy instead of learning how to shut-up and go along with things without thinking, they would leave their situation immediately. In fact, they probably wouldn't even be in that 1950's nuclear-family structure in the first place :) Hack-schooling, which I think is birthed from technology, is a new way of taking knowledge into the hands of the common person and away from institutions, so that people can come up with their own conclusions, instead of others trying to decide things for them, which your statement tries to do, and what others tried to do with his mother by telling her how dumb she was for trying this method :) This happened with The Bible, and now its happening with ALL information! YAY HACK-SCHOOLING!
Shawnbayly, you shouldn't make assumptions about me and my "fictional" families because...well, I'm sure you know the rest of the adage. First, things first: my credentials. I earned my Masters from Teachers College - Columbia University and have worked in the New York City school system as a special education teacher (National Board Certified) for the past five years. Right now, I work in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan (the northernmost part of the island) which is in District 6, but I've also worked in East Harlem, which is District 4. That "fictional" distressed family is all too real. The girl's name is Arpita. I had her in my 4th grade class last year. She and her parents arrived from Bangladesh a couple years before that. Neither of them speak English nor read. If you find that hard to believe, check the CIA facts on Bangladesh online (especially of the female population) and then get back to me. Her father works 70 hour weeks as a janitor (not in just one building of course, because then he'd earn overtime), and her mother works at the local Dunkin Donuts shops. I buy my tasty salted caramel hot chocolate from one of them. They are not "living alone" in NYC. They chose the locality because some family members live in the area, but they are in similar economic circumstances so can't really help. From the rest of your comments, I infer that you've either never worked in an impoverished inner city environment domestically or worked abroad in a poor country, or possibly you haven't experienced either one. They "decided" to live in NYC and "run the rat race?" How can you "decide" if you don't know any other options because you lack any kind of formal education from your country in your own language, you can't read, and you don't understand or speak the dominant language? Not a lot of choice there. But I'll humor you. You send me the list of contact information of "communal living situations" around the country that are financially stable, have members that can speak Banga, and can accommodate practicing Muslims (most people from Bangladesh are, in case you didn't know), and are either in the immediate NYC area or can at least help pay for the commute out there (since the family lives hand to mouth), and I'll pass along the information. Just remember that Arpita has a reading disability, a speech impediment, and is an English language learner, so the communal living situation should have someone in place that can address all those issues. The second family (and actually the first mentioned in your post) is actually patterned after a family I know that homeschools their girls. The dad is a neuroscientist who works at Columbia-Presbyterian and the mom graduated in fashion design. I love them both, and consider them dear friends. I respect what they are doing and think it's great for them, but they understand that their options are not really options for 95% of the rest of the city. The school I currently work in has a population that reflects much of the neighborhoods of NYC: over 95% qualify for free or reduced lunch, over 90% are Hispanic, and over 45% are English language learners. Like Arpita's family, many of their parents come from poverty, had little to no formal schooling in their home country (in this case, the Dominican Republic), have low levels of literacy, speak almost no English, and work menial jobs. My neuroscientist friend isn't going to have his privileged (but certainly articulate and astute) 10-year old daughter have a quasi-TED talk assembly in my school's auditorium telling the parents to eschew traditional schooling and home school or even HACK school. Why? Because he realizes that it's unrealistic for over 95% of the parents who lack the financial means or the education to provide some semblance of guidance to their kids. This kid's hack-schooling idea would work for the country's students who fit perhaps the top 10 to 15% economic bracket (that's being generous). It implies easy access to a working computer and internet. It implies two literate, English-speaking parents - one of whom earns enough so that the other can stay home (or perhaps the other is a webpage designer or something where one can work from home). My point is that this TED Talk (like most of them, which is why I find them annoying/nauseating) is an opportunity for a person of privilege to talk about how he figured out this amazing new way to do something without 1) first acknowledging his privilege and 2) concomitantly recognizing how "his way" is probably out of reach for 90% of the population. Oh, the poor, naive, ignorant masses. If they could just "unpoor" themselves, then they'd be able to move to the Sierra Nevada and afford pursuing a career as a professional alpine skier. Listen, I don't decry the parents' decisions with this kid, or the obviously positive results. I reject the implication (and it IS an implication) that almost anyone could take their approach, when it just isn't realistic. And it doesn't address the most dire educational needs of this country. Pardon me, but I don't really care if a bunch of upper-middle class white kids in suburbia achieve some vague notion of happiness by the time they reach adulthood. (Boo hoo, I wanted to be a skier but Dad convinced me to become an accountant, oh the horror). But I do care about the impoverished black and Latino kids in the inner city that have a significant possibility of being on welfare, or in prison, or even dead by the time they're 30.
My point exactly. You want to give me this jargon about your "credentials." Basically, who you paid a ton of money to in order to call yourself an expert. Sounds like you are as privileged as this kid you disagree with. MY credentials: I'm a BLACK 25y/o male Grew up in inner-city new Orleans, going to "schools" so broke we couldn't afford a/c and had to share text books and some even had to stand in class cause there weren't enough chairs. Than, because "logic" deemed it necessary, our whole local fishing economy was destroyed by BP, in order to "supply domestic oil to the USA so we wouldn't depend on terrorists". I got arrested smoking pot in texas during the "refugee days" as i call them, and it was obvious this USA wanted desperately to stick me into the system to be just another stat; it also wanted to keep me dumb and busy so I couldn't understand what was happening to my home or speak out against it. I had a choice when i was young: Either follow in line like everyone else, or go against the grain and make my own path. I chose the latter, began living on the streets, hitch-hiking and playing music on the streets to eat and survive and afford myself the time to educate myself. Now I've been living my life on my terms for over 5 years, and im still poor as shit, but my life is happy and healthy thanks to positive actions and great social support that i found outside of any system, book, or "proven route of success." And i even find that the stuff "college-educated people" talk and think about is total BS, mostly just overthinking stuff and over-analyzing everything to the point of dismantling all common sense. Hack-schooling is another word for "thinking outside the box". This whole "in-the-box" thinking cycle is exactly why I no longer have a hometown stable and healthy enough to live in...but you know what? People still live their cause it's "cheap and affordable". They don't care if it kills them, cause they can't think outside of the box and use things like personal experience, common sense, and basic social skills to navigate out of the hell they chain themselves into. The reason I support this frame of schooling is because I lived that inner-city BS and got to personally experience the hypocrisy of "American Democracy." "Give me a list of credible communes.." HAHA, you know why they are credible communes? CAUSE THEY DON'T GO TELLING EVERY MORON IN THE WORLD WHERE THEY ARE! People have to start doing the research and trial-and-error themselves, and find ways to break away from the system that puts families, like the ones you know, into these situations. There isn't one narrow path of educating and living that all human beings should accept and abide by. That's called totalitarianism, and it sounds like that is what you support since you don't think kids should be learning on their own. You're just some ivy-league schooled book-smart know-it-all who taunts about your educational degrees as if they mean something. Go to an east-texas prison over the summer period, sit in a big 100degree room with 58 other men in Larry Gist TDC and spout off your credentials to the guard in the picket, and see if you get any relief for your heat-exhaustion.
It's not about "un-pooring" yourself. It's about finding alternative ways of thinking, living and arrivingf at solutions that don't involve enslaving yourself to the system. Anyone with a brain can see the massive income inequality, and the fact that job wages decline as prices inflate. Who with any common sense would choose to go along with that system? A) Spend $40,000 to be told what book to read and what to decide is truth or B) Spend the $30 on the book YOU think is most important, and read it yourself. I choose B, cause it's practical, and I don't need privilege to get $30, just a quick hustle. Your family you described is living the effects of expansionism from capitalist tyrants. What I learned in my years of experience: Those who claim to care for one and not the other, usually care for neither and have personal incentives that dictate what side they choose to endorse. You don't care about the underprivileged, or you would care about the privileged as well. How can you say you care about anything when you obviously hold resentment in your heart towards white middle-class people? I'm black, and even I see the racism and hypocrisy in your "white middle-class" statements. Grow up brother, educate yourself!
Your description of your New Orleans school sounds like my school (no AC is the worst). I'm sorry for your unfortunate circumstances,but you still have several benefits (like the kid in the video) that most of the families in my school aren't privy too. You were born here. You speak the native language. You can read and write English. You had some access to public education (even if it was crappy). I assume you had at least one literate parent (studies show that kids don't even need to have the parent read to them, just having them be literate helps.) The list goes on. While your way of living works for you, many people might want options to do something else. The option to get married and have a home. The option of having children and being able to afford them. The option of having insurance and not having to use the emergency room. I'm not saying people need to or will eventually avail themselves of these option, but they would often like to have them just the same. If your current situation is what you purport, these options seem beyond you. Don't you find that restricting? Living a bohemian lifestyle can feel liberating, but then available choices are severely curtailed. Your knowledge of the economy seems a little off. Wages don't decline as prices inflate. Purchasing power can when the price index surpasses wage increases. But inflation isn't an issue in this country (the Fed keeps interest rates at 0). Anyway, you (and the kid in the video) still don't offer solutions for Arpita's situation (or the rest of the kids in my school for that matter). Question: Why buy a book for $30 when you can borrow one from the public library for free? Second question: What kind of logic says that if I don't care about people who make six-figures achieving some vague notion of "happiness" means that I'm not really concerned about the impoverished either? You'll have to walk me through your reasoning. Finally, I'm not African-American, but my wife is. I'm white American (meaning I'm half German, a quarter Chinese, and one-eighth each of Finnish and Russian). Our 4-month old daughter looks Puerto Rican (or perhaps Sicilian). And the reason why I don't concern myself much with the affluent students in America is because we're falling behind other countries due to the performance of the bottom half (and especially the bottom quartile) of students, which essentially speaks to the infamous "achievement gap" of the black and brown kids unfortunately. In a globalized economy, the effects of this gap on the affected populations are only going to get worse and worse.
I got from this that everybody needs to find what makes them happy. Whether its hackschooling or public school. Just make sure that you are happy. Happiness is a choice. It doesn't have anything to do with being rich or poor. It's awesome to see a young child given opportunities and making the most of them. Well done to his parents.
I think you two are agreeing with each other in many ways, and would probably like each other if you met face to face. Thanks for both of your enlightening comments. I grew up speaking another language, had working poor parents, and yet I made choices that are often considered outside the box, as my children are also doing. But yes, having lived and worked in sub-Saharan Africa, I know that I have so many more choices than do some friends in Malawi or Zambia.
Both here have interesting points, though I didn't read everything. I find the comments here to have made good arguments back and forth, and though I myself do come from a privileged family and can not speak from experience of coming from a poor background, I do think it would be very difficult for someone barely scraping by to raise a family in the United States, let alone someone living off less then a dollar a day which so many people are, to afford to educate their child in such a way. However, the biggest critique I have of this is more to the fact that this kid, though in many ways breaking away from a conventional education, still has such a capitalist mindset, especially with his focus on nature. I think it is interesting and good on this 13 year old for getting up there and speaking because that takes balls, and if he truly did come up with this talk all by himself that is quite innovative for a 13 year old. Over all though, and as the comments point out extremely well, a 13 year old easily overlooks economic struggles and structures, political structures, and even environmental issues that all form, and are encompassed in, the way children are educated today. So in terms of this leading to a new, innovative and successful structure for educating youths, I don't think it has much to offer.
A man from India is approaching education from a radical perspective, and reaches kids in the third world, who do not speak English. It is neither "homeschooling" nor traditional schooling.
Agreed. I think Logan is a remarkable kid. I'm HAPPY that he comes from a supportive family structure that withstood the slings and arrows of the ignorant masses and stuck to their guns, so to speak. He has been enabled to attain academic heights that would've been unreachable in the vast majority of public school environments. My critique is that 1) he doesn't acknowledge his privilege (but he's young and callow, I wouldn't necessarily expect him to, yet) 2) his "branding" of his approach is slick but superficial, calling it "hackschooling" instead of "homeschooling using 21st century technology" ( like the brilliant episode in Parks and Rec in which they call fluoridated water "T-Dazzle" to garner public support), and 3) his aspirations for personal happiness and following the footsteps of Shane McConkey, which seem myopic and hedonistic (but again, he's only 13, he has time to mature). The kid could probably be the next great neurosurgeon or astronaut or philanthropic entrepreneur (or perhaps politician, but one that is principled and transparent) and really do some genuine good for his community, nation, or even a generous chunk of the globe. I hope he sets his sights a little higher eventually. He has God-given ability and family-given opportunity (go Mom).
Wow. So what is it you're trying to say? I should feel privelaged that I speak the language of the country i was born and grew up in? And feel guilty that people who, having been born and raised in other countries, choose to come to america to raise kids here, but cant speak english? It sounds as if you believe that not being able to speak english is equivelant to mental retardation. This is not the 1950's. I guess your point is that the youth in developed countries are spoiled and should feel guilty about the situation the previous generations have put us in? Or that my personal experience, i.e. my wages being cut while prices for basic necesities rise, is wrong cause it doesnt fit the economics rule you learned in your capitalist-influenced college? And your very last statement eludes to racist sentiment, or maybe its just orwellian doublespeak confusing my mind? Your first question answers the initial point made, that you were first against but now appearantly agree with: Why buy a book for $30 when the library is free? Same principle with hack-schooling; why pay thousands and thousands for university-school when all the information is available free or nearly free with a computer and internet or library card. Your second question, in my opinion, deals with cause and effect. Social conditions and the inequality the world experiences is very complex and shouldn't be approached with an attitude of "you're to rich to matter", just like we shouldnt say "you're too poor to matter." Thats called ignorance. People who are tied up in this capitalist system and think it is the only way of life are quick to present these types of ignorant arguments. I'm not sure why. Maybe they are afraid of change? Maybe they actually look at life in such black-and-white ways? You can probably answer that question for me. I should not and will not feel guilty for having the opportunities I have been given, and neither should anyone else. I should feel guilty if I wasted these opportunities for my own selfish gain, and didnt use these opportunities wisely. The kid is 12 and he already appears to be smarter than most german/chinese masters' educated people who hate TED-talks but watch them anyway and post endlessly about them. Imagine the possibilities if he continues to ignore negative people like you all his life?
Not being able to speak English is a serious inhibitor to any kind of real socioeconomic progress in this country. Your 1950s comment is weird. Why not pick the 1880s or the 1900s (that's when we had the highest immigration in proportion to native population)? I'm not saying you should feel guilty over your privilege, but that you should at least acknowledge it and appreciate it before you make a video of yourself saying "hey everybody, look what I did, and you can do it, too!" That isn't necessarily true for many people being that they lack many of the privileges that we enjoy. I wasn't arguing that your wages weren't cut. If you say they were, then I'll take your word for it. I AM saying that inflation doesn't drive down wages (although the price index of basic necessities does rise, you're kind of "all over the map" with your economics). Wage depression often occurs in a global economy when your job can be either 1) "outsourced" to another country (e.g. manufacturing jobs moving to China and Malaysia) or 2) "outsourced" to the past (i.e. computers and concomitant robotic technology rendering increasing numbers of manufacturing jobs irrelevant). That's why if you don't have the smarts and/or desire to become a petroleum engineer and work for Big Oil, or a chemical engineer (my first area of study at a higher institution for learning) and work for Big Pharma, or a computer engineer and work for Google or Facebook (or the dozens of other viable internet, software, and computer companies starting every year), and still want to achieve a comfortable upper-middle class lifestyle, enter the service sector (nurses, teachers - in some districts and states, police officers, firemen, etc.) and stay there for a decade or so and you'll eventually make a pretty good salary. Wages are cut due to the laws of supply and demand and the global workforce has essentially doubled over the past 25 years (since the end of the Cold War) and our mixed capitalist system is struggling as the ground shifts severely under its weight. We need better coping mechanisms to ensure people aren't completely left behind, but unfortunately Washington D.C. is so broken that nothing is getting done on a federal level (and it needs to be at least at a federal level). In all honesty though, these multinational corporations have distinct advantages over even our federal government because they can move their business and infrastructure with such ease and fluidity across border anymore. Try to raise taxes on them or ensure they pay workers a living wage? They'll take their business to Mexico or Brazil or India or whatever country will be less demanding/more accommodating. I think you meant to say that my last statement "alludes" (not "eludes" - or I'd be Frank Abagnale, Jr. running from the FBI, ha ha) to racist sentiment. Are you referring to my general apathy toward the educational attainment of the affluent children in this country? There is no reference to race in that statement, only to economic class. White children disproportionately belong to that class when compared to their black and brown peers, but I care about poor white kids, too (funny you mention that, my wife and I are seriously pondering moving to South Boston next to work and go to school, which has a high percentage of poor Irish, Polish, and Lithuanians). And I never said that kids are "too rich to matter" only that I'm largely unconcerned with their levels of educational attainment because every metric we have indicates that they are, by and large, doing fine overall when compared to their peers in similar socioeconomic categories internationally. Your Orwellian doublespeak comment is bizarre. Look up what that phrase means before you use it, Do you feel like I'm being vague or ambiguous with my comments and observations? Do you feel like I'm using euphemisms and/or inversions (e.g. the Ministry of Peace actually being the Department of War) in my language? I don't really see how that applies to me. And yes, you should feel guilty if you wasted your privilege for your own selfish gain and didn't use it wisely to help others. So take a look at yourself? Despite your obstacles and setbacks, you still live in the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world. You speak the language that dominates business and politics not only in this country but across the globe. You have more than 80% of the world's population that survives on less than $10 a day (http://www.statisticbrain.com/world-poverty-statistics/). Are you using your wonderful resources and opportunities to serve and uplift others or are you primarily (and selfishly) concerned about your own personal happiness? Do you seek to emulate great political and spiritual leaders throughout history like Mahatma Gandhi or Jesus of Nazareth who spoke out about true social justice (and eventually gave their lives for their admirable causes) or do you seek to emulate a professional skier and BASE jumper who died at age 39 while trying to perform a ridiculous stunt (this kid's hero is Shane McConkey, look him up)? I don't mind that this kid is a little self-absorbed, egocentric, and self-serving (I know I was at 13). He is still immature and has a bit of a hedonistic mindset, and will hopefully grow out of it. But if you're 25, it's time to expand your worldview and quit the hedonism. Life is about more than your personal happiness.
Your replies to Mrt432 have been excellent, but I fear he is too negative, too condescending, too close-minded, and too unhappy to get what you are saying.
I also think Mrt432 has some racial issues he needs to sort out. His stats on the NYC school population are totally off (see my brief correspondence w/him below - - and I say "brief" because I cannot respond to any more of his negativity and inaccuracies).
Maybe we're talking past each other here. If it's because I've been unclear, I apologize. I'm NOT asserting that the NYC school system EN MASSE is over 90% Hispanic. I'm asserting that an INDIVIDUAL school, the school where I currently work that services a Washington Height/Inwood population, is over 90% Hispanic. It's an overwhelmingly Dominican neighborhood. The stats from the NY Times website demonstrate how over half of the system's 1600 schools experience de facto racial segregation with over 90% of their populations (on an individual school level, remember that, not entire school district and certainly not entire school system) being either African-Americans or Latinos. Where exactly do you think I'm wrong in my math? There are several schools in Harlem that are over 90% Black. There are several schools in the immediate neighborhood of Washington Heights that are over 90% Hispanic. Would you think it crazy to discover a couple of schools in Chinatown that are over 90% Chinese? So please walk me through the mathematics of my analysis of INDIVIDUAL school populations within the NYC school system and tell me where I'm "totally off."
A man from India is approaching education from a radical perspective, and reaches kids in the third world, who do not speak English. It is neither "homeschooling" nor traditional schooling.
I think you're focusing too much on the fact of homeschooling, rather than hearing this talk for what it is: a message about the possibility of a new method of learning for all kids, in school or at home, including and maybe especially kids like the very disadvantaged Bengali girl you taught. If all kids were encouraged to direct their own learning, they'd grow up having the confidence and creativity to do things like, say, create alternative living situations for poor people. As it stands, too many kids fall through the cracks because they don't fit inside the structure of learning we have in the public school system, a system designed, as you point out, to create factory workers. Do we want a society of factory drones and mindless bureaucrats, or a society of free thinking, creative, vibrant and compassionate human beings. And if you think it can't be done without money, read this article: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/
I challenge you, as an educator, to move beyond your assumptions and start teaching from a place of possibility. Rather than focusing on the limitations of your students and their environments, focus on the unique perspective each of them has and encourage them to follow it at all costs.
not to butt in, but for someone that has a High School education and 2 years of college, is now 60 , and found out two years ago I have Asperger's, I have to state, for the record, that someone with a "Master's Degree" should be able to use spell check before submitting a post on education (pro/con). Somehow you failed to do this and your sentence, which then becomes your most eloquent, and memorable remark is from the sentence-"
He probably had books in his home his entire life and new how to read"
I believe you meant "knew" as in educated, not "new" as in product. Just using random examples. And re-reading before I post for spelling errors.
Dude, you made assumptions about this kid, and now you're upset that others are making assumptions about you? Why are you hating on a KID? And touting your own ivy league degree? Oh, wait. I have known teachers like you in my lifetime. The ones who secretly loathe their students, and it seeps out in the most passive-aggressive, or even blatantly aggressive ways. The ones who don't want to see students achieve, or think differently, or grow beyond the limits of their own knowledge. If you want your "female Bengali student", whom you so INAPPROPRIATELY NAMED ON THE INTERNET, give a TedTalk, then why don't you help her and teach her to do so? In fact, why don't you get your entire class to give TedTalks? Public speaking is a great skill, and a standard in many states. So, stop hating, and start doing man, and by all means stop smearing your anger and resentment at kids.
What I love about your reply Katie is that I saw things you said that are so true, such as,
True -- I have known teachers like you in my lifetime. The ones who secretly loathe their students, and it seeps out in the most passive-aggressive, or even blatantly aggressive ways. The ones who don't want to see students achieve, or think differently, or grow beyond the limits of their own knowledge.
This is yet another reason why, when you see an example like Logan, up there in front of an audience with the courage to speak on something he worked very hard on, and doing so at 13yo in a very professional manner, even pulling through a couple delicate moments with grace, it would be utterly tragic to have such a young soul fall victim to any such teacher or principal like you describe above (I've seen them and experienced them; both the passive and blatantly aggressive).
There are great teachers out there who care so much, but there are some teachers that need to just find another profession because they do more harm than good by the very nature of their self interests or self-validation on a daily basis.
"The school I currently work in has a population that reflects much of the neighborhoods of NYC: over 95% qualify for free or reduced lunch, over 90% are Hispanic, and over 45% are English language learners."
LOL! Where did you get your stats on NYC? I grew up there. Please do point to your source.
LOL! Where did you live in NYC growing up? What neighborhood exactly (or at least which school district, please, utilize the NYC DOE website, it's pretty intuitive)? That 's great you "grew up there," but you come off as ridiculously parochial and self-absorbed when you use your personal experience "growing up there" as the primary methodology from which to analyze a city of over 8 million people that has by far the largest school system in the country, and then furthermore, that you use your narrow lens of experience as the sole source of skepticism regarding my statistics of my school that is a part of that system educating over a million children. "Where did you get your stats," you ask? I got my "stats" from working in the school and making empirical observations for the past four years (or perhaps you weren't paying attention). But if you're still dubious, here's a relatively recent NY Times article (it's a year and a half old, but all the Latinos didn't suddenly move out of the neighborhood during the last 18 months, I assure you) demonstrating the problem of de facto racial segregation in NYC. I live and work in District 6, which encompasses the northern most geographic region of Manhattan including the neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood (the term used is "Hispanic Isolation"). Consider it a wonderful (and woefully needed) opportunity to educate yourself about a systemic problem unfortunately found in many urban areas. And please, next time, conduct a simple google search before you embarrass yourself (this is the 21st century and you have a whole world of data at your fingertips). http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/11/nyregion/segregation-in-new-york-city-public-schools.html
"...but you come off as ridiculously parochial and self-absorbed when you use your personal experience "growing up there" as the primary methodology from which to analyze a city of over 8 million people that has by far the largest school system in the country,..."Said the guy who is using his personal experience working there by day as the primary methodology from which to analyze the exact same thing, and then decide a 13 year old kid was supposed to address AND fix economic issues in his great speech about ownership of one's own happiness and self determination....The above ends up being so much blah blah blah.I grew up in the neighborhoods you visit by day to earn your paycheck. And then I put myself through as much school as I could wrangle scholarships for at the same institution where you received your Masters. SO I have a little bit of crossover here.Your posts here are reminding me of the patronizing version of liberalism that I came to really dislike when I was at Columbia. ."There there. I know your problems better than YOU do. And I can compare and contrast those problems with those of other people I also do not really know"There is a difference between being a liberal who believes that people should have access to help when they need it, and that some things are fundamental and should be provided, and believing that the people who have nothing are also incapable of ANYthing without the benefit of your benevolent (and ever so wise) input.Sorry about the snark, but I have read through this discussion and cringed at much of what you have written. Not at the content or at the realities of what life is like for the poor in large cities, or specifically of poor immigrants in large cities. No, I have no issue with describing that; although your competitive "My project's hardships were bigger than YOUR hardships ever were" is crossing the line from obnoxious into offensive, not to mention flat-out inaccurate in the comparisons. What bothers me most about how you present this is how patronizing you are throughout. Patronizing towards anyone who has ACTUAL experience with these issues, and patronizing even towards this little girl and her family you buy your hot chocolate from (how white of you to go out of your way like that!)
So well said teegr: "...and then decide a 13 year old kid was supposed to address AND fix economic issues in his great speech about ownership of one's own happiness and self determination..."
I agree with you, I've come off as patronizing. It's a character flaw I have to work on. The rest of your statement ranges from inaccurate to erroneous. My primary methodology is not my personal lens but the analyses of the NYC DOE (I said before, all you have to do is check their website on socioeconomic/racial demographics of schools in District 6), f non-profit organizations such as InsideSchools.org (I attached the URL for my old school in district 4, P.S. 155 William Paca, I don't do it for my current school because there are batcrap crazy people out there), and of the NY Times piece. My empirical observations of my school and community are accurate (they have to be in order to get tenure anymore and definitely required to become National Board Certified) but they aren't my primary pieces of evidence. If I made it seem like they were, I apologize. Second, I never said I wanted Logan to FIX the economic issues (or even address them directly). I would've appreciated it if he prefaced all of his presentation with a simple statement like, "I recognize that I'm a middle class, able-bodied, English-speaking white male from a two-parent home of affluence, but what I'm doing in my homeschooling experiences with this advantageous position is interesting and might be applicable and even useful to others, even those in less privileged circumstances." A 20-second statement of self-analysis on his position in greater society is all I ask. Third, if you've been able to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," congratulations. I applaud your efforts and accomplishments and think it's truly wonderful. I just wish that you weren't the exception to the rule. Studies have shown that children from the bottom quartile of academic performance but the top quartile of socioeconomic status are much more likely to graduate from college than children found in the inverse situation. Doesn't that seem problematic to you? There's something wrong there if America is supposed to be a meritocracy and not a 21st century version of old Europe with an aristocracy or landed gentry. Fourth, the people I've been arguing with obviously don't come from the neighborhood I live and work in or they wouldn't question its demographics, so I'm not arguing that I know THEIR problems better than they do, but I am arguing that I know MY NEIGHBORHOOD'S problems better than they know MY NEIGHBORHOOD'S problems. Why? Because they are mine. Fifth, I don't just visit, I LIVE in Washington Heights. I firmly believe in living near the school where I work exactly because of what you describe. I don't want to be the stereotypical (and hypocritical) teacher who tells the kids and their parents that they can do such and such in the community if they just worked hard and availed themselves of the resources without actually living there and doing it, too. I take the kids to our local city library and the surrounding parks. We go on field trips to visit the closest museums and historical sites. I've lived here now for almost 4 years, and if I live here in another 4 years when my daughter goes to school, she'll attend public school in the community as well. Sixth, while I may be patronizing to some of the snarky people on this message board (again, it's a character flaw, but hey "they started it" < in a whiny, childish tone) I'm not patronizing to the students and families I work with. I consider myself fortunate that I have a job that I love and that I'm pretty good at, and that I make a decent wage so that my wife, my daughter, and I can enjoy a reasonably comfortable life. My desire is that everyone else in New York City, the US, and the world could have an equal opportunity to achieve the same. Finally, do you actually expect me to avoid the Dunkin Donuts next to my school just because my former student's mother works there? I don't go there because she's there, I go there because it's convenient. But I can confirm that she's there almost every time I walk through the door and consequently not home with Arpita. (By the way, I never knew purchasing hot chocolate was characteristic of being "white." I better inform my black wife because she buys it even more than me).
"...My primary methodology is not my personal lens but the analyses of the NYC DOE..."No actually, it isn't. Almost all of your initial posts were nothing but anecdotal, patronizing assessments of your student compared and contrasted with fictionalized accounts of what you assume this kids life is. In other words, exactly what you accuse someone else of doing above, except your anecdotes weren't even about your own experiences but the presumed experiences of someone else. You only brought in the DOE stats subsequent to people finding your position problematic - which it was."Finally, do you actually expect me to avoid the Dunkin Donuts next to my school just because my former student's mother works there? I don't go there because she's there, I go there because it's convenient. But I can confirm that she's there almost every time I walk through the door and consequently not home with Arpita."Of course not. No more than I think the person who flaunts that their "best friend is black" should stop having black friends just because they are patronizing idiots about how they present it and use it to prove something. Perhaps they should not use that relationship - or in your case that activity - as a means of flaunting presumed (and fake) inside knowledge of a scenario and how people might feel about it.
"(By the way, I never knew purchasing hot chocolate was characteristic of being "white." I better inform my black wife because she buys it even more than me)."If you thought my comment was about buying hot chocolate being for the white, then your reading comprehension suggests you might rethink touting your Columbia education in public. The way you presented that entire scenario was so incredibly patronizing (even to the student and her family) that you patronizing the store where they work ended up coming across as not much more than the benevolent white man bestowing coins to a needy merchant. If that's not the truth, then GREAT! But perhaps the issue of your patronizing attitude does not begin and end with strangers on the internet. Or perhaps you were just so entrenched in your own attitude that you forgot to hit the off switch when you described her family.I don't know you and so I am not sure which it is - if it even is either of these, or any of a number of other reasons - and I don't actually care.In one of the private schools I won scholarships to in NYC (high school), I had a teacher who was patronizing in a similar way that you appear to be. The funny thing was that he too talked about his black partner, in a similar way. She was always his "black girlfriend". You've mentioned your black wife a few times in here, when there was little reason for it aside from the topics you yourself brought into this. By the end of the school year, I pretty much assessed that while this teacher may well love his girlfriend, her blackness was a side bonus in that he got to use it as a prop in his personal debates and agendas. I found that rather disgusting then. I'm finding that while much time has passed, it has the same effect on me today.Side note: do you always betray the privacy of your students to the degree you have done here? You have so far disclosed this young child's name, her school, and where her parents work, all for nothing more than to score intellectual points on the internet. In theoretically defending her difficulties and the challenges she faces in the real world, you have put her out there for any maniac or anti-immigrant asshole with a resentment and a gun to see. To criticize how a 13 year old did or did not present information that you mostly agree with.Does that really not strike you as an odd priority to have?
1) I brought in the website when people questions my stats, not my position. I don't mind when people question my position, just when they doubt the numbers. 2) This is how I presented the child's situation "Her father works 70 hour weeks as a janitor (not in just one building of course, because then he'd earn overtime), and her mother works at the local Dunkin Donuts shops. I buy my tasty salted caramel hot chocolate from one of them." One of them = one of the Dunkin Donuts shops, not the mother herself (I thought I made it abundantly clear, she barely understands any English and speaks even less, she's not a cashier. Also, obviously I'm not referring to "one of the parents" in the statement since I already mentioned her father works as a janitor in office buildings so that wouldn't make any sense. If I bought my hot chocolate from her mother directly, if she were a cashier, I would've stated as much in a straightforward manner. But then I don't know how that would be an act of benevolence since it's not as if cashiers get a commission from purchases, so now I'm really confused by your reasoning because it doesn't make any sense.) Third, I didn't mention my race or my wife's race until one of the responders brought up his race and implied that he thought I was black, so I thought it best to disabuse him of that notion but also reveal why I think so deeply and often about racial issues (I'm not an enlightened individual, I just live with someone who deals with them on a daily basis). Fourth, I'm not betraying anyone's privacy, least of all any of my students'. There's a reason why I'm only identifying the school I worked at previously (not my current school where I work and which this student attends). No one has the time and/or resources to scour the Dunkin Donuts in upper Manhattan looking for an unnamed female parent of said student. And finally, the student's name could just as easily be Paromita or Madhumita (or a dozen other pseudonyms using Bengali girl names), I didn't think I needed to say that, but I guess I did. Arpita is shorter. Now that I think about it, Ruma would've been less typing, so I chastise myself for that one. Finally, do you think that America is already an authentic meritocracy or do you believe that some serious systemic changes need to be made first? You never addressed my description of the problem with educational outcomes (specifically regarding college graduation) in this country amid your critique and I'm interested in your opinion.
"I didn't mention my race or my wife's race until one of the responders brought up his race and implied that he thought I was black, so I thought it best to disabuse him of that notion but also reveal why I think so deeply and often about racial issues"Like I said, the "my wife is black" as proof of something that is not automatically linked and does not automatically follow. A prop to prove something on the internet, in no case did anyone ask you the race of your wife, and in one case, your own race was asked. But your wife's race was a handy shield and proof of some sort of thought process that does not intrinsically follow. Thanks for providing an example of exactly what I was talking about.As to the clarity (or lack thereof) of your Dunkin DOnuts adventures: given the muddied communication present in the explanation above, it makes sense the original didn't come across as perhaps you had planned.
"Finally, do you think that America is already an authentic meritocracy or do you believe that some serious systemic changes need to be made first? You never addressed my description of the problem with educational outcomes (specifically regarding college graduation) in this country amid your critique and I'm interested in your opinion."No, I didn't. Mostly because I don't think intellectual self-gratification (in a Master of Your Domain kind of way) in a comment section that is specifically for a 13 year old kid and his presentation of some absolutely fine ideas he's formulated is all that interesting. Are you really questioning why I didn't address your off topic questions in the manner and time you wanted them addressed, after you pretty much did everything you could to hijack the entiree thread in the first place?You may be interested, but I am not. I only posted when I couldn't bear to read one more patronizing word from you without saying something. And I did.
Great talk by Logan LaPlante sharing his personal journey.
Many have been inspired.
Interesting and broad range of issues of debate on this forum.
I think it's safe to say Logan LaPlante has made an impact already on this world at the graceful young age of 13.
What a bright future of continued discovery he has.
I agree with you. it's astonishing that most "adults" over look happiness as a desired goal for all humans. What's the purpose of being alive if it's not to be happy. All the education in the world is useless if you can't become happy or help others become happy. How many PhD's or higher ed people do we know who can't even take care of themselves let alone trying teach others in schools and/or colleges. Having lots of credentials behind your name is also pretty useless if you're miserable. Oops, sorry for the rant. Lastly, I also love the bit where Logan learns from apprenticeship within people and businesses in his community. If all kids have this type of learning everyday instead of sitting in their classrooms 8 hours a day, we'd have healthier and happier kids.
MRT423- sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder and begrudge those who strike out and succeed. It is small minded to dismiss helping further expand the minds of the educated class and seem to only care about the poorer classes.
Those in a position to take the time and money (which yes is a position not afforded by all) to expand their intellect and contribute to the greater good should be supported, not derided. It is these people and those they work with which bring many new ideas and solutions to the table.
I asked for your source and you couldn't deliver. You immediately called me names - "parochial" and "self-absorbed" because I used my experience growing up in NYC as my primary source. But then, a graph or 2 later you write that your stats come "from working in the school and making empirical observations for the past four years". LOL! Do you see the irony?!?!?!
I'm not going to waste my time looking up the DOE website, because I am certain that your stats are wrong. I took a quick look at the NY times article, and even a cursory glance disproves your observations (which is exactly - - and I mean exactly - - what they are - - not fact).
In the NY Times article that you linked to, one of the lines *in bold* states: "Half the city’s 1,600-plus schools are over 90 percent black and Hispanic." (And if you can't figure how that disproves your fake stats, ask a mathematician).
You can call me any name you want. I will not respond to any more of your comments here, as they have all been bitter, smug, condescending, and - - wrong.
I think the reason this particular Ted Talk (and apparently all other Ted talks; which begs the question "why do you keep watching them?") bothered you so much is because you are unhappy with yourself. All the big words, name-calling, and incorrect observations that you have been making will not help you with your dissatisfactions w/your life.
I feel sorry for your wife and child.
Check out PS 155. That was the school I worked at a few years ago located in District 4. The poverty is about the same as at my current school. The ELL population is lower here (but still over 30%) and there are more black kids percentage-wise. But the essentials are similar. http://insideschools.org/component/schools/school/177 How exactly does the article disprove my school's makeup? "Half the city’s 1,600-plus schools are over 90 percent black and Hispanic." My current school has a population of over 90 percent Hispanic, which means it's one of the more than 800-plus schools that fall under that predominantly black or brown category. It reinforces my stats. And if you bothered to look at where I work now, (in the Washington Heights/Inwood area) on the NY Times map, you'd see that it is where much of the Hispanic isolation is.
A man from India is approaching education from a radical perspective, and reaches kids in the third world, who do not speak English. It is neither "homeschooling" nor traditional schooling.
Your point that it is unrealistic for a parent to homeschool and have a full time job is incorrect. I homeschool and work full time... I have no help and make a wage that falls into the poverty bracket. Just my experience and two cents.
Please tell us how you are doing this! We want to know! I don't have children yet, but I am certain that I don't want them to attend the local public school K-12. However, unless my economic circumstances change (and I know that this is possible) I don't see how I can quit work, or keep working and pay a tutor to home school. Please help!
Hi Geminiflower... My son asked to be homeschooled for a few years and I felt the same way you do.. God, I just cannot do it. I cannot afford a tutor either. I cannot do it. I read and researched over the years and came to the conclusion, after reading all the blogs and such, that I would never be able to do it. Well, my son had such a difficult time at the end of last year that I pulled him out at the beginning of April. I do not homeschool in the traditional sense... make the curriculum up myself. Although, I do not think this would be too hard now that I have some experience. I do online schooling. I received all of the materials (books, microscope, art supplies, etc.) and a computer with a printer. Contrary to a comment I read here... there is financial help for the internet also. I made a desk and shelves for my son to do his daily work. I was still pretty scared this was not going to work as I would never have the time to do it nor the knowledge to coach him but I had to try for my son... I was WRONG. To be honest... it is nothing like what people say. It takes a maximum of 2-3 hours per day.. Yep, thats it! Some days are shorter believe it or not. Take for instance physical education... you can mix that with Science: taking a walk and exploring the trees and leaves and such. You would be very surprised how much time is wasted in school. My son goes through all of the material he is sent unlike public schools that may get half way through a book. If he does not get a passing grade of atleast 80% then he has to do the work again until he understands it and masters it. He loves it because the alternative was horrible. I love it because of the couple of hours that I spend with my son learning and laughing is priceless. In public school, the homework every day was stressful and unnecessary. You CAN do it. It really is pretty easy. You would be surprised how quickly kids learn when not disrupted by peers. Good luck...not that you will need it!
Geminiflower, I totally get what you're saying. I think there's nothing wrong with making sure you are financially sound before having children. I know that's my plan. In the meantime, here's some resources at the bottom of this article about Sir Ken Robinson and Logan LaPlante,
Oh start reading... there are plenty of books on home school. Being prepared, informed is bound to help. I know its not an easy option unless you find the right other- but ever thought of considering shared home schooling. With someone else in your area... you could both still part time work... The BIG issue is matching philosophy around what you want. I didn't find anyone to match for me, but that doesn't mean you won't. So my recommendation is read, research and stay open to possiblities.
A resort to authority, I am sorry but you lost the argument right here. The rest is just a waste of time.
Ah... just to help you out, Frank. Everyone... gather around. Frank here won the argument. He has come today to show the world that he is a winner. As a winner, he is here, on-line, perusing comments and searching for ways to show us how bright he is. All hail Frank.
How sad for all those poor people destined to sit on their couch all day and not get to be on TED. People who gripe about only "privileged" and super-educated people being on TED-- probably don't get that actually anyone with an imagination, and gumption to get up and do something could do this. Even your Bengali student with humble beginnings. No one is stopping them. There's plenty of information available where people don't have to be the victims of their upbringing. I guess, the underprivileged and have-nots could be excused for their lack of initiative, lack of imagination and failure to try to get up and ask for the privilege - but then they don't get how free America is. I know that not everyone can pull themselves up by the boot straps, some are very damaged and victims of bad situations with little to fall back on - BUT, from what I see in middle America - the vast majority of this nation of comfortable first-world Americans can. Many many many mediocre Americans, with enough income - enough to make a difference - just whine about how their freedoms are being taken away, how it's hard, how busy the traffic was that day, and don't even bother to understand where their meat comes from. They just don't take the time to educate themselves beyond daily routine, materialism and drama . Privileged people on TED? No, more like imaginative folks with the gumption to take a stand, rise above the rest, and give a damn about something bigger.
Ahhh beautiful analogy! Reminds me of the book ohhh last one in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series, where they enter they tent to find a glorious land before them and the dwarfs sitting just through the door with the eyes covered as if they were tied and prisoners, unable to step out and enjoy the beauty around them...simply because they thought they had entered a tent that was a prison...
His thoughts are good.. but who is putting thoughts in his head. I like it but a little set up. Parker my 10 year old would agree with this young man, but also know, it takes money to make your own big decisions.. Where is the family on this. Poster boy for his parents.. im not buying a used car today
Are you saying you need to have money to home school? I think not, as a single mother with minimal income I managed. It just depends on how much you want to do it. ..
That's amazing. How did you afford to eat, pay your rent or mortgage, afford medical expenses, and homeschool your kids?
HI Firstly I have to acknowledge I was fortunate enough to have been able to secure public housing- more affordable and SECURE! This does make a big difference. Next in Australia we have public health for low income earners. Two major obstacles - but always always keep looking for a way around them.
Yet we almost never used healthcare as I make looking after my health a priority. That is I cover the basics (as mentioned in Hackschooling) rest/activity/relaxation/enjoyable activities/good food ect. These do not have to be expensive. Activities in nature space (parks/beach/whatever is accessible) I firmly believe that eating meats (yes cheaper cuts) lots of vegetables bit of fruit is more economical than commercial food stuffs- breads pasta that kind of thing leaves you wanting for more. Though we'd buy chocolate/cake/lollies when and only when on special for a treat. I taught my son to cook as part of his home schooling.
Text books- well you have to buy them anyway but I also used the library- heaps. I also worked part time so relied on neighbours to be available. I also made the scarifies many adults don't like too. Rarely did I get to socialise- I did eventually find a local tennis club that was very economical. I used very very cheap government funded second language school for his second language. This also gave me three hours for me a week! I learnt to find decent clothes and other household things on good sales- never buying anything at full price.... I could go on.
The thing is if you want to do something you find a way. It is all about the courage to do it. This doesn't mean I am an outrageously courageous person, I have to admit, today I struggle with lack of courage to do something but I am looking for that courage a way to do it ... It was just that due to a number of things I decided it was want we had to do for my son's best interest! Mother bear was in action!
In other words you bludged off the system, good one, now is the time to pay it all back so someone else can follow your lead, in the meantime, one must continue to work, pay taxes so some people can abuse the system, for their own gain.
wow, so quick to judge. And so very negative. You should try supporting others instead of insulting them it really makes you feel better. Every child deserves there parents time and attention and what better way than to home school especially if you are a solo mother. To me it's a good option better than working full time rarely seeing your child not knowing what they are doing. The system is there to be used. We all use it one way or another and those that need it more than others at times should not be judged. You never no you might need to abuse it ourself one day. I have a suggestion for you. Try and find your happy. Peace.
How can you make such a harsh and cruel minded judgement when you know very little of the circumstances? She states that she decided that this was what she had to do for her son's best interests and you don't know what led to that decision. Relying on the system in the short-term can afford people the opportunity to change direction or take positive action that leads them to contributing more to the wider community in the long term. I think someone working to better the lives of themselves or their children and sharing that experience in a positive manner is contributing more to society than someone who pays taxes and is hateful and judgemental.
I'm pretty sure some of the ideas come from a famous John Lennon quote it may be a co-incidence but it is very close.
There are many different school systems out there and in some places the teachers even follow many of these "unschooled" ideas.
It is problematic that the obvious privilege of being able to go skiing and to have parents that can support an alternative educational approach is an "elephant in the room".
Each new generation gets to stand on the shoulders of giants and this young man is lucky to have the parents and resources that he does. I did like the talk though.
By way of contrast there are many more talks like the ones by Sugata Mita or
If you are a parent ( I have a 12 year old) we all want our kids to do the best and navigating the school system is not easy. I do my best to show my daughter a wider range of circumstances and she knows she is lucky.
She knows what privilege is and can take a wider perspective on things. While at a regular school she was lucky to do a philosophy for kids programme and I think that rather than stripping out all the smart, privileged kids from our schools it might be better to see if we can change the game for all of them.
Like Oscar Wilde said 'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.' It is important to take the great ideas in this talk but temper that with a wider understanding of what really happens next.
Jason, what's with the John Lennon quote?
It's a great quote, but unless someone has explicitly told you otherwise, it has nothing to do with Logan any more than it has to do with your story above; which might be fine less the need to somehow single out your obsession with John Lennon (who's great but your making big reaches; not a good sign).
It's not really necessary to try and make a great link in the specific way you have, between a good historical quote and some necessity by Logan to somehow tell the audience; "Hey, everything I've done is from John Lennon." It's not of course; maybe Logan hasn't listened to a Beatles song in his entire life. Maybe he has, but don't presume what you don't know and don't reach too far.
If you read-up, Logan re-wrote his entire talk he had worked on for some 60 days, just prior to this TEDx event because he wasn't quite happy with it and asked others for advice. Some suggested that maybe he should focus on the Hero part of his already written talk by him. It was suggested that perhaps he should focus on that hero, Shane McConkey; an innovator and great skier (something Logan knows a lot about), among some other important things, genuine things from Logan that he wrote.
The focus of Logan's talk was on a greater range of topics; why are you limiting it to the happy portion of Logan's happy, healthy, education is important, studying the science of being happy and healthy, how he went about it through himself, family, friends, community organizations, what he's learned from it, etc. I find your comment very narrow and it belittles a great effort by Logan.
Finally, I have to address this privilege thing you refer to. Nobody would know that except those closest to him and it's something that's mute (and frankly n.o.y.w.a.b.). I read somewhere, on here I believe, that people in his community pay more for utilities, etc. Have you seen any WiFi coverage maps? Also, privilege has two sides to it, even if it were the case, which you don't know, I can make that point with one letter: W.
What I was getting at is that I have had students google for ideas like this and then not credit their sources at all. In this example it may be an entirely happy coincidence but it is a link I made as soon as I heard the talk & I just wondered about that.
On the other hand the talk does refer to Ken Robinson and others so chances are if it was scanned it would have been attributed and I'm fine with that. However I can see I'm not the only person who made the Lennon connection.
As I said I liked the talk. Logan is indeed awesome - as you say - no question about that.
At the same time the choices that he and his family have made are not open to all and whether that comes from privilege or hard work or something else is something to consider in the wider scheme of things.
Hello back. I understand your point in your response above, I just think it's neither here or there when it comes to Logan; he did not need to make any such reference at all.
Also, there's nothing wrong with editing your original post further above as you have, but it should be to enhance or correct something. In this case your refusal to allow Your coincidence to error on the side of Logan's benefit. This John Lennon quote, put it to rest and tell your own story and leave it at that; you have a good story. If you comment on Logan, just take care, that's all.
Unless you have something else to go on, it's only right that you should assume that the only source of how to interpret Logan, are his own words. Your use of the phrase for (what is called an obvious) "[Invisible] elephant in the room" is Your privileged presumption.
In the spirit of elephants, you may or may not be aware of the "White elephant" phrasing as a sort of exemplar of the costs that are involved in the maintenance of resources. So, even if your coincidence is accurate (and being your coincidence you should not state it so bluntly) you would be more appropriate in adding to your thoughts that you must live-on even with resources. Wealth not managed is dying wealth, just as a soul unnourished is a waning one.
Hi - I edited it the actual quote out because it was never meant to be in H1 large size and if I could have put it back in normal font I would have. I also wanted the comment to have better clarity and to say what I meant which is the co-incidence element
But thank you for your feedback.
Wow, well don't you have a lot of assumptions. It's that kind of mindset that wont get people like you to advance. You should be ashamed. Stop playing the "oh pity me, I have it harder than you" card. You know nothing about his personal struggles. Man up and create a better life for youself and your family rather than whining about it on a website's comment section. #pathetic
Mrt432 While you have some good points, I think you missed the whole idea of this kids message . At his age were you able to stand in front of a group of adults and speak as well as he did? If you pay attention to his 8 points to be happy and healthy they included exercise, diet and nutrition, time in nature, CONTRIBUTION AND SERVICE, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious and spiritual. Tell me how that can be a bad thing. Teaching our kids how to not only read write and add, but also how to live with each other and be healthy for themselves and the environment. Oh and by the way there have been several TED talks by people who are not privileged or are making huge differences in the world. Grow up and get a life instead of being a jerk!
Funny how wisdom can come from kids in the moment.
And regarding preparation for giving a talk: I've not seen one TEDx talk yet that didn't use slides with slide-notes near where monitors are at usually on a stage floor. I thought Logan actually kept his eyes to the audience better than many other speakers I've seen even some of the most popular TED talks.
I found this today for the first time. Never seen it before. It's definatley related, Desiderata
Mrt432- I homeschool. Read all your comments, and appreciated them! I don't think I have the stomach to watch another TED talk again. Thank you for taking the time to articulate your thoughts, and for the good work you do as an inner city teacher. I think your students are very lucky.
Mrt432, about money: Surely you can imagine the opposite of the scenario you propose: of the well to do family with Parents that take things for granted and are despondent to their children. From what he has stated, Logan has a family and community that support him. That is a good thing, and independent of any argument contrasting it as privileged versus poor. I do hear where you're coming from, I just think it's not relevant to the talk or the talent of this great kid.
There are many ways to homeschool. I don't think that Mrt432 is getting the point. I know no american history but I'm teaching it to my daughter. The public library offers many free opportunities including english class. We are a one income family with mortgage, health insurance, etc. There are many museums with free hours and guided tours. Whatever language your families speak, they speak! They can foster a learning environment in their home, help their children fulfill their dreams and goals just by being resourceful. There are families where both parents work and they homeschool. It's about being creative and resourceful. There are countries where families can't afford to send their kids to school so they homeschool. I think that we as a society have a skewed view of what is important in life. We focus on getting a lifestyle that affords us opportunities to amass stuff instead of experiences and connections. My goal in life has always been to be happy. I foster that in my family. Maybe have a look at "Happy" on netflix. Homeschooling/unschooling is more about a lifestyle choice than an educational choice-in my way of thinking.
Yip on the same page. Totally agree. Never mind plant the seeds and one day they suddenly burst through. As a previous tertiary educator I found this approach very valuable. We all need our own space to grow. Thanks for the suggestion- living a fulfilling life is my criteria. We all have that right (often suppressed in education system- in order to fit in). The balance between being one self and a member of society is where many get unstuck I think it comes down to respect and contribution.... your thoughts?
not sure where my post went but I agree with everyone to an extent. Whats most important to me is that my children choose their careers and schooling according to what will give them quality of life. To play it safe is to live by the rules we did not make up. I am always telling my children if they want something bad enough that they can manifest it. My daughter once told me she wanted to be a unicorn. I didnt tell her this was not possible, instead I helped her write a short book about her life as a unicorn. A unicorn story in which she was able to pretend to tell her unicorn life. I never say you cant, instead I, as the parent offer suggestions,solutions and other options. This allows them to expand their minds and continue to believe in themselves beyond what someone else might think they are capable of. I tell my children if they have doubts in anything or anyone, to challenge what they doubt by finding evidence to prove differently including doubting me,teachers or our government.
I think you (along with the majority of the commenters on my post) misinterpret my annoyance and frustration as being aimed at this young man, or his parents, or people who homeschool in general. This is absolutely not the case. If you've read my previous posts, I have dear friends who homeschool their kids. One is a neuroscientist. Another is an architect and toy designer. Another is a producer of off-Broadway musicals. Exceptional people, but also comfortably middle to upper middle class, which statistics show is where many/the majority of homeschoolers come from in terms of socioeconomic status. I don't begrudge anyone that right and capacity. I think homeschooling is great if parents can manage to do it properly, and I think parents should avail themselves the opportunity to do it, at least for a little while anyway. It doesn't take a longitudinal studies and peer review research papers supporting the advantages of homeschooling over public schooling (in general). My class size over the past 4 years has ranged from 26 to 31 students. Even if I were the best teacher in all of NYC, how much one-on-one time and care and attention could I give to each of my students? Now take a mediocre homeschooling parent (I'm sure there are ones that could run circles around me in my classroom, but we'll take a perfectly average one). Hypothesize she only has 75% of my content knowledge and pedagogical skillset, but she only teachers her two or three kids. Isn't obvious which students are getting the better end of the deal? Her kids enjoy a student-to-instructor ratio that would be envy of elite doctoral programs. How well she knows them and their preferred individual learning styles gives them another leg up. I'm not arguing with you about the benefits of homeschooling, so you don't need to cite dubious studies and statistics to back up your argument (and all your numbers seem to come from the report by Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute commissioned by the HSLDA, not exactly an unbiased researcher or sponsoring institute). I won't go into all the layers of conflict of interest, but they are legion. Plus, the study's methodology is fundamentally flawed from the get-go. It estimates that between 1.5 million and 2 million children are homeschooled, but expects to deliver an accurate picture of homeschooling's results based off of only 11, 739 participants (not randomly selected mind you, but SELF-REPORTED). That's significantly less than 1 percent, which nullifies validity and reliability. The sample size is much to small. I could go on, but finding flaws in that study is like searching for water in the ocean. My point is, homeschooling parents should be confident enough in what they're doing to not look to amateur research. My annoyance and frustration is aimed at TED talks and their pretense to be innovative or revolutionary when it comes to a specific field (in this case, education and homeschooling), but are about as conventional and vanilla as it gets. Essentially this young man's "revolutionary" approach is availing himself of computer technology, the internet, and surrounding educational resources to acquire his academic experiences? Then he packaged it under the flashy name of HACKSCHOOLING (oooh). Really? That's the big idea? I feel like that recent episode of Parks and Rec where Tom Haverford rebrands fluoridated water as T-Dazzle. I would hope most, if not all, homeschooled kids would've been doing this very thing for at least the past 10-15 years (if they haven't, where they heck have they been, I've been using Google to get science articles and contact college professors since 1998). Ultimately, this video feels like a an attempt to support parents who homeschool their kids but don't feel secure enough about their decision and need an articulate skater kid to bolster their flagging confidence. TED should just be candid about that. And while I understand and respect the homeschool movement and think it's great that middle class parents can stay home with their middle class kids and achieve good results (big surprise), also realize that the public school teachers are often still the ones left doing the heaviest lifting by having to teach kids in poverty.
Perhaps that's because you've surrounded yourself with mostly middle to upper class when it comes to your friends. I live in rural PA. and there are many poor people getting by on one income. Many people think it's so much cheaper living in the country but that is just not true. We pay more for utilities, phone, heating and trash.
We have been homeschooling since the beginning and that has been 13 years now and I am in my 14th year. We are are lucky to be maybe just on the skirts of middle class at below $60,000 per year for two incomes. I am fortunate to have a job that I work from home. But that is only recent. Just a few years ago our income was well below $40,000/yr. We have 4 kids and typically survive on just one income. We do not live off welfare although I'm sure we'd have a lot more money if we did. At least according to what I hear. We have occasionally used some govn't programs like WIC, LiHeap and EIC. But that is it. We have done all this primarily on our own. It has not been easy, but we have graduated one and now have three to still finish. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Our oldest was very successful both with testing and her academics and other interests. She played varsity softball from the 9th grade. She played piano once in Carnegie Hall via a special awards concert. We have all worked very hard to make sure that they are well rounded. I'm sure that I could do things much cheaper, but I am happy with the way things are working out. I would never send my kids to public school if I didn't have to.
"And while I understand and respect the homeschool movement and think it's great that middle class parents can stay home with their middle class kids and achieve good results (big surprise), also realize that the public school teachers are often still the ones left doing the heaviest lifting by having to teach kids in poverty."
How can kids be classified? That was a unwarranted remark. Public school teachers fall very short in my experience. They treat the kids as "they are just kids" and shuffle them in and out. I had my son in public school for 8 years of uncaring teachers and staff. Taking on the responsibility to homeschool my son was a life changing decision of which has changed his (and mine) life to a much happier place. I realize that this video is not new news for homeschooling but it was a nice watch and should not be torn apart by someone who does not have "personal" experience. Homeschooling may not be for "everyone" but is not just for the stay at home mom or the rich.... I work very hard at homeschooling and full time work to make ends barely meet... the most rewarding experience of my life is the time I spend with my son doing projects and school work. I was very nervous to take this on as I thought "I" could not do it... I was so wrong and pleasantly surprised as to how wonderful it was/is. My son is truly happy for the first time in 14 years... school tore him apart emotionally... homeschooling is putting him back together... Oh, I am in poverty and do not agree with you saying teachers have the heaviest lifting by having to teach kids in poverty... so, kids in poverty are the most challenged? They are hard in what way? Because they are poor? My son is amazing....
Hear Hear! Only thing is I'd expand it just a little as I found home schooling parents and children do do it differently. Many of those we found weren't compatible for my son and I and that's all cool. Fits in with your adapt to their needs thing. Children DO need different things and the schooling system just can't cope with that when so many children are allocated to a single teacher..... Though I do get concerned when I come across homeschooling families that a a little feral... it does happen unfortunately...
Shut your lips and learn! You see what you want to see. And what you're seeing is dead wrong! This guy is definitely not privileged. And not all TED talks come from privileged people. Either way your tune sucks.
I'll have to research him more, but this is Joshua Prager's wikipage. "Joshua Harris Prager was born in a Jewish family in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Prager is the son of Columbia University physician and medical ethics expert Kenneth Prager, and the nephew of commentator Dennis Prager.He attended the Moriah School in Englewood, New Jersey, the Ramaz High School in Manhattan, and Columbia College, where he studied music theory." So: Born in the US. Check. White. Check. Speaks English. Check. Child of affluence. Check (his father was a Columbia University physician for heaven's sake). Received first rate education and/or educational opportunities. Check. And you say this guy was "definitely not privileged?" Then what is your checklist of "privilege" pray tell? Being privileged does not mean bad things won't happen to you or haven't happened to you. If Prince George of Cambridge is diagnosed with leukemia tomorrow, does he not still enjoy privilege? Of course he does. He would get the best pediatric oncologist in the world on the case. If he were the bastard son of a 14-year old girl in India who worked in a brothel, do you think it would be the same situation. I'm sure given his parentage, after Mr. Prager's accident he had access to some of the best medical care and therapeutic practices the world had to offer as well. If he were a poor Angolan who got creamed by a Shell oil truck, do you think it would be the same situation? I'm not saying people should feel guilty about privilege, but at least acknowledge it openly and appreciate it. Recognize it for the resources, safety net, and added resiliency it affords you in life. I'm confident that Logan can achieve anything he puts his mind to. If he follows Shane McConkey's trajectory, I'm sure he'll become a famous, world class extreme skier and base jumper and perhaps come up with innovative designs for his equipment. But I also know that unlike my inner city, impoverished Dominican students, he can likely avail himself of the best medical services this country has to offer if he ever has a serious crash that leaves him battered and broken. He is more free to take risks because of his privilege. I don't begrudge him that. This is a season of thanksgiving. Let's be grateful for the privilege many of us (including me) enjoy. But many of us, despite challenging events or circumstances in our life, were still born on "third base" compared to 90% of the world, so let's not be too self-congratulatory and act like we hit a triple.
I agree, and the reason I agree, in the greater scheme of things in life, universal life, man makes decisions that effect their future in the here and now, where these decisions are positive and they help others to grow, you develop browny points in the book of life and in that process you may have accumulated a financial empire, or any financial empire, when you die, your body rots into the ground, as it should and your soul/spirit is reborn into another existence, in the third or forth generation of your family tree, this existence, basically, is a continuation of your previous life, with any knowledge of that life or any life before that completely hidden. This life is all new, with intelligence level continuing from previous life, once you have developed it. To get to that level, though, one goes through the learning, growing stages of cognitive development, the experiences you have during this development stage determines your level of maturity. In time you will or would have reach the stage you were at from previous life. There are many influences that govern your development, there are many things in life that you have no control over, just like going to school, learning your three "R's". From here use your imagination, it applies to anyone living a negative life, too, so what you "sow" is what you reap, you sow for your future. So be wise and sow good, love, joy, happiness, abundance, health, mental stability, sharing, cause these things will be bestowed on you. You sow the opposite to these then you will reap the opposite to these gifts, because that is what they are gifts, from you to others.
Mrt432, regarding the above, you say you're going to do more research and then go into a spiel about another person, then mockingly "check" off a list. The topic here is still Unschoolery > Hackschooling - Logan LaPlante. If and when you do research this great kid Logan, I highly suggest you focus on the positive, and post any criticisms you have against "Unschoolery" in a more general thread and not here as if against Logan like your other comments that certainly appear insensitive (esp regarding a young soul, even if you say your not saying it against him or his parents; the way you write you should reflect on how it comes off; how it reads). Also, be careful what you research and be respectful of it. He's got good parents out there. Not sure you'd want to do anything but come back here with constructive observations. That's what they are after all, you don't know him; probably only the people in his community and ski friends know him, even then, there's always "people being people" and I do think you are getting a little carried away like that. We're all susceptible to that at various levels of development, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get quiet for a while and you _Might_ find when you reflect empathetically, if you've been in the habit of it, that it will hurt a bit when you consider Logan; you might regret the way you've come off. Hopefully it does hurt, then put it behind you, come back here and if you are for him, write that way. That may sound bossy, but I'm speaking about your words, which go beyond bossy, they're presumptuous.
I have loved this thread up to this point when @thevitality suggest there is something wrong with @mrt432 for critically thinking. Firstly, it seems he agrees with Logan, the message of this TED Talk, and most of the other post rebutting his post (but thats beside the point). In no way were his post crude, obscene or in my opinion even rude. Even if they were all of the above, the point of message boards (especially TED boards) is to have a socratic dialogue, disagree, critique and suggest how to improve a talk or idea, and thats what he did. He first thought critically, and offered a suggestion as to how this speech could have been better: "acknowledge privilege". His suggestion was not even that radical, actually it wasn't radical, off kilter or even pedantic. It seems the concern (one of the concerns haha!) of some people in this thread is that he is being too harsh, too critical or not supportive enough of a "young child". Hopefully Logan does read this, and if he does, thankfully there was a bit of intellectual discourse and debate. What can one learn from pure affirmation? Human progress is driven by criticism, critique and defiance (much like Logan and how he criticized, critiqued and defied the standard educational system). Also, what is wrong with acknowledging privilege? Its real, it helps, and I would agree that without it Logan's model is unrealistic for most children in the US. Hell, I come from a privileged middle class background and there is no way my parents could have home-schooled me. Luckily, I went to a public school that had AC, heating, mostly qualified teachers and a music program. Sadly, my school is a perfect example of de facto segregation. Almost all the kids in my school were white and from middle to upper middle class family. I digress, the point of my post was not to defend @mrt432 but to commend him for critically thinking. Public education in the US is criminally poor and we need more dialogue like the posts above.
You do realize Jahuke22 that Mrt432 could be a critical thinker who goes overboard with his words. Your critique of my response misses at least 2 things: i) That Mrt432 edited the post I replied to about his "checklist" - removing the "checklist" and ii) There's a clear consensus here that he goes way overboard with his pretty broad language. It's difficult to understand how he can be supportive near the end of a post while earlier in the post is quite insensitive and by that, I mean he's not only wrong in his presumptions but he states them so strongly and with a bit of arrogance. The waters are too muddy in his statements, which makes his negative ones all the more clear. I don't know who he is, but he's not consistent, and he is negative, which makes his posts questionable, not critical.
Zkonkel, I'm so glad someone finally said it. I've been restraining myself because the subject here is Unschoolary / Hackschooling by Logan, not someone who is clearly in need of revision. I just haven't had it in me to say it like this; well I have but it's not worth it when what I relate to here is Logan and I don't want that to be diluted into futile arguments. In the end, it's all a good pot of soup, but when it comes to Logan, people shouldn't make assumptions about a young kid who is, at least, 2 years ahead of any other TEDx teen or any other teen I've seen of at age 13. At least. Yet, he's still a delicate soul in development and people should be cognizant of that as they discuss.
i have the same feeling with lot of TED talks (and it s a relief knowing that i am not the only one thinking that). Attractive and amazing in the first moment, but frustrating when you realize that not all the people can afford to think in this way. If equality ruled the world, this ideology should be outstanding, but world is unfair and cruel, and not everybody has the chance to show their talent, as these people in TED do.
There are no easy answers anxo, that's for sure. But one thing is clear: Hope. I would not bet the farm, but I would say that it's nearly certain that at least 1 child has seen Logan and wanted to be "like that" and that's enough hope to keep a kid's dreams alive. You can make it more complex if you want, but it boils down to that. The wheat from the chaff; that's what's left: Hope.
Hello Mrt432 - - I don't know if you're still following this thread at all - I just wanted to say thanks - - you're the only person here talking any sense. This is an incredibly privileged way to approach education and can do (already has done) a lot of damage to traditional public school systems. The fact of the matter is, once you pull the privileged kids out of a school system, the school system is undermined and it's underprivileged kids who suffer for it. The privileged kids' parents are the ones who push for improvements, for adequate funding, for good teachers and strong extracurricular programs. How long do you think it will take once public schools become irrelevant to the middle class and wealthy for the funding to dry up and for public schools to become just another despised and underfunded welfare program? A public school system with nothing but poor kids in it is like a health insurance system with only sick people in it. Everyone needs to participate or it doesn't work.
Also, what business does a kid have deciding what he or she should learn in school? He's a kid - not a pint-sized Buddha. All kids operate out of their id. It's the job of adults to teach them self-discipline so they can develop the attention span to focus on important things that are not always fun. That kind of an education will pay off even if he is a good enough skier to go pro some day. Making 'being happy' your goal in life is like making good weather your goal in life.
Sorry but I disagree, it is not just privileged kids who are doing this.There are a lot of parents who have sacrificed having a two career household, have sacrificed having two or three cars, vacation homes or just being able to take one vacation. They choose not to go into debt or live paycheck to paycheck so that one of them can stay home and teach their kids. It's called being a responsible parent. Allowing your child to choose what they want to do and feeding their interests is not a bad thing. They can find out early on if this is something they truly want to pursue or maybe they find it's something they don't like. The problem with society is we are too busy trying to keep these kids children instead of allowing them to become mature well spoken adults that can think for themselves and make their own decisions about life. School is highly over rated. I mean look at all these stupid television shows on t.v. that do nothing but glorify stupidity and highschool. And these kids don't choose their entire education either. There are basic things they are learning and being taught.They don't have to learn everything out of a book or classroom. Wanting a career that makes you happy in life is not a bad way to do things Realizing that it may not always be feasible is different. But many people would like to go to work everyday and be happy.I'm sure many people would like to enjoy their job. The education system in the country is overrated, outdated and destined for destruction. It is not the government's role to provide that for it's people.
Of course it wasn't just he who decided what he'd learn, it was himself, his friends & family and help from his community. Read from the source, about how it actually, unfolded,
Okay - I read it. Here's what worries me: "For me, if it's not hands on, I can't pay attention." There's value in learning to focus on things that are not fun or don't immediately engage you. The inability of people to focus on things that don't engage them or make them happy is a growing problem.
Just wanted to address this part,
"The inability of people to focus on things that [a] don't engage them or [b] make them happy is a growing problem."
Regarding [b], what I took from the talk was the "happy" part was part of a long term process, not necessarily any notion of something that immediately gratifies like a video game.
Regarding [a], I agree it can be a problem but not necessarily for the young learner. That's the conundrum from those who have invested large sums of money in the idea of all education is in the digital medium.
Everything in the digital medium, the web, fun or serious games for education, still has to result in the ability to execute in life experiences. That's why I can personally appreciate the growing trend in many endurance sports. Some ski, some run, some do a mix of a lot.
Hence Experiential Learning. for the hands on physics experiment. Something they obviously built themselves. You can only gain so much insight from the virtual realm, where it is now, and even the "envisioned" idea that somehow we'll be able to in the long-term quantum connect to a CNS that doesn't operate at that speed. There'd have to be a proxy.
In the end, technology enhances real life; the only benefit of technology alone is when real life experiences are just not available for a variety of reasons.
Thankfully, this young lad is athletically engaged and doing what it takes to nurture his intellect.
Your point about technology in schools supports what I was thinking. This is an adult-driven problem. Kids will be kids. It was stupid to throw everything into digital media and I do think that impulse (for adults) came from not wanting to seem uncool somehow. I disagree that everything you learn should be executable as real life experience and find it curious the only two realms you mention are the hands-on and the plugged in. There's a lot of value in being able to sit still and think without hands-on activity or technological mediation.
Yes, great that kids are getting more exercise.
I don't think it has anything to do with someone trying to not seem uncool. I think it's of commercial interest, and frankly productive, to begin engaging online education.
Which is why I liked this talk so much is that it puts a good contrast on exactly where all that great effort in online learning begins and ends.
It begins with just about everything - it ends, with doing something in real life.
Something that will ultimately lead to better health and better happiness. That's not idealistic, it's realistic. Here's a link for you on that note,
Thanks for reading something spoken from the source. It's always the best place to start. ESPN and X-Games have a Brand Name to protect Legally, so they're not just going to allow go.com to put something out there that's not from the source.
For me, Logan's story is inspiring because of the obvious: He got up there, and he delivered. Any guessing here or there is just talk.
As one person put it in this thread, "The 'COST" is your child's life... How much is that worth to you?" -- and the great thing is that Logan is going to be just fine. So for those concerned with how much privilege, how much help -- they'll never get enough no matter what they're told and the LaPlantes are smart to not even answer people like that. They've just allowed some good articles like any good parents would.
Everyone has some level of resources, and every child prepares for assignments -- even great ones like this -- so it's a story of great nurturing.
Just to clarify, I first replied to this thread because I saw the actual TED talk - that's about as close to the source as you can get. The ESPN article mostly repeated what was in the video. Also, I didn't say Logan LaPlante isn't getting enough help or not being nurtured enough. That's not the point. What I was saying is that his education sounds narrow and lopsided and it sounds like he's given too much credit for knowing what's best for himself. It's good for kids to have to do things that are worthwhile but boring.
The ESPN article provided some additional insight into how it happened; his Mom being the teacher, his Aunt helping out, then as more community involvement became part of it his Mom organized things (sounds authentic to me; that the credit was given where credit was due - family, friends, community - and no reason to believe otherwise).
I imagine there are many things that one might consider "boring" that Logan does that are worthwhile. If you know of any, please do mention them. He reads a lot, that's considered boring by some.
It's all good discussion, but arriving at the truth is always what people should push for, if anything is to be pushed.
Just to let you know, not everyone fits the "traditional school." I dropped out of high school at 16 since I didn't fit in. Instead, I went to college (yes, there is a loop hole WITHOUT needing a GED in the states). Now, I'm studying to be an engineer with a scholarship at the school. I completed 2 6-month internships and am currently looking for my third. I am also gaining additional experience through freelance. How am I able to do all of this?
I didn't follow the "traditional school system."
Dear High School Drop...
Because you had a great mom... Traditional school is so, so pressuring... stressful ... keeping up with the "jones"... Life has so much MORE to offer. Good Luck to you...although I do not think you need it for you have found it. :o)<<<< BIG SMILE!
damn evil middle class. How dare they achieve and not suffer or be a victim. You are truly in a dark place. I pray you find the light of this world.
I totally agree. There is a small population of individuals whose family can support this sort of education and lifestyle. The rest of the population would benefit from the general concepts of 'lifehacking' but should view it as inspiration for leveraging a more standardized education to a successful end. Most people lack the means for what appears to be an 'inspiration over application' upbringing. This kid and others like him will do great things; many folks lack the intelligence and means to dive in like this. However, I believe that everyone could benefit from not subscribing to a set lifestyle, instead, taking inspiration from their environments and using what they learn to EXPERIENCE life instead of go through its motions. The average working class individual will not likely relate to this kid's whole outlook but certainly may understand/apply the concept that there's more to their world than their biweekly paycheck and watching the game on TV. Hopefully individuals like this kid continue to influence the world around them towards greater awareness of self and living beyond the mundane. One thing, though, I would like to find a different name than 'lifehacking.' Hacking comes with great stigma and is a Gen X/Y cliche related to lame counterculturism. It's not hacking so much as it is following a path of inspiration, awareness, and enthusiasm for life. Nothing hacker about it.
You completely misunderstood the whole "hacking" concept. It is his title dork.... sorry... had to throw that in since you seem to be oblivious to the whole scheme of things.... He hacked.. good for him.. we did do and good for us...You?
Although I do think resources are a factor that's not always the case.
It just involves more work, more running around (more work) to more effort to obtain and pay for those resources.
In both cases above, Technology (the Internet) has helped both.
What I liked about your statement is that,
"He hacked ... [what was good for him"
And I'm quite sure by now that it was a result of seeing the disparity of the results achieved by this awesome kid, Logan, at home and then at school.
Great decision and it would have been tragic any other way. I'm glad they did it because I got to see Logan at TEDx. It's made a huge impact on me.
Keep telling yourself that. There are many more people who could do this. Even just regular homeschooling. People are in general lazy. They have been so brainwashed by the government into thinking that schools can change and we need them to educate our kids. If you can read, write and do basic math than you can homeschool your kids. As far as financial goes it's what you make of it. There is really a very small part of the population that couldn't afford to do it. It's called priorities. And most people don't have them in line.
My thought... Don't undermine the poor and underprivileged. Many historical figures have overcome these obstacals and made huge impacts in the world. Don't hate the rich just because they are rich. Life is made of choices, you can't blame anyone else for your decisions.
I presume this field is better used as a forum for commenting directly on the video and it's themes, rather than bringing argument and discussion on loosely associated topics, although the convoluted discussion below would suggest otherwise.
Firstly, I am very impressed by this young man's public speaking and cannot imagine being so confident or eloquent at 13, or now in my 20's, for that matter.
Secondly, it really does present "hackschooling" in a positive light. Of course, like everything, it does require certain resources. However, I would suggest that the principle resource might simply be the vision of what can be done outside of the box.
This video has provided me with food for thought.
If I have kids, homeschooling is starting to look more attractive. What an amazing speech for a guy of that age. I love that Shane McConkey is his hero!
:) Awesome post!! As a parent my traditional schooling makes me sometimes doubt my decision to follow the unschooling approach for my son. This video confirms I've made the right decision. Thanks for the site it has been a great support. Much appreciated.
(Disclaimer: I will not return to comment or reply to anything any of you have to say.)
I want to say that as a single, white mother, in NYC school systems, ( the reason I say this is cause I am what you would consider "well-off" and educated)
I find this young man an inspiration. I am not only a life and leadership coach I am a mentor for teens. I have learned to communicate with many "inner city high school grade" children and see them not only flourish but change their community and school. I am impressed by such youth! (and I'm hard to impress) You want to know why this young man made a difference in my life. He gave me the inspiration I needed to think outside the box (more than I already do) to educate my own daughter! Not to just send her to school and expect her to come home and be educated to but to participate and work with her to further what she already knows and grow her understanding and love for knowledge.
I have decided because of this young man to "unschool" my own daughter. Not to take her out of public school but to add to it, to create my (headstrong) daughter's insatiable love for knowledge to grow and flourish as she ages. Her topic of study, unlike Logan's skiing, will be about the vast ocean and all that it encompasses.
MY feeling about what everyone's huge debate, you have no idea what you want. This young man at 13 knows what he wants, despite his upbringing, background, education, or financial situation. To know what you want is not easy. It is the focus of every training that I preform, it is the root of growth and comprehension. This simple idea/philosophy is the key to happiness. It does not matter where you come from or where you are going, this is about your mindset and focus of what you want through the process... Everyone is caught up in the system, are you going to use it or be used by it.
as long as he stays gmo free, he will keep his beautiful mind. he wonders why other students are not like him? its because they have been conformed with little to no creativity. there are so many things wrong with education and its all because of the corrupt system. It didn't become corrupt. It was built that way. So it takes beautiful minds like him to change the world, we don't need to fight, all we need to do is make organic healthy living choices for health and happiness, including turning off the cable and not buying into the media hype.gaining life experiences is the best form of education! always ask why!! never accept anything as is!! Don't eat food with a commercial. meditate with your divine light. and just Loving Yourself First!! If everybody did that, the world would change!!
Agreed. Beautiful mind, Great soul. Took courage to emphasize his Religious and Spiritual involvement TLC by saying "Yes, got that one" and he did it in a way where everyone can go from that general basis if they are inspired to do so.
I relate in that, I found my root down by getting alone with God and understanding that words can only come to life when you commune with the origin of meaning of where words come from: Listen to others and consider what they say, but believe god in your heart above all else as you commune with God.
That's what I love about Logan. I've had to be a Hybrid (my word for hacking) for so-so many various reasons I won't bore anyone with. But on the Spiritual side, I found my own hacked religion through traditional means from Western traditions that I turned unorthodoxy on without severing the roots, and then finding the way to the Way to the Truth and Life through Eastern writers.
The phrase that keeps coming to mind: Everybody must decide for themselves. It seems Logan's Parents, whether fully decisive of that or not, have made that the by product of his home schooling. Protect your children, teach them well, then, as I just heard on the news for about the 19th or so time, "Let your children get messy" (speaking of babies eating food).
I've heard this analogy a lot. That is what's so incredible about this young man, he has grown in dramatic ways if you do your research. I can only imagine the leader or silent achiever, or both mixed in the wind, he will become.
I loved this video when I first saw it. But you know the crazy thing? After 16 years of working at places like Alpine Valley School here in Colorado, it doesn't seem all that extraordinary that a young person would have this kind of vision and be this articulate and passionate in presenting it. Not taking anything away from him, mind you: the point is that what kids are capable of is so thoroughly masked by the conventional system that literally dumbs them down.
Well said. I think you're right. My experience though is just a little bit different. I've observed a lot of extraordinary kids (many of them are, certainly all are capable of it). I do think Logan takes the bar up a few notches if not several notches though. I've never seen a kid at this age and leading up to it, with as many acquired skills all around the board (socially, skill-wise, athletically, he's clearly gifted), as Logan LaPlante. I saw a post on his YouTube video for his TEDx talk where someone commented they actually knew Logan (and those are people to listen to if they know him), and they mentioned that aside from his serious focus, he's a regular fun-loving 13 year old also, which I agree with. Hey, while we're all so serious here on this forum, lets not forget Baby Fighting.
Right -- I wasn't meaning to say Logan isn't a cut above, but rather that I see kids fairly regularly who remind me of him, who are no less impressive. I believe this is because Sudbury schooling lets kids tap into their innately powerful curiosity and sense of self: it empowers them to be who they are, meanwhile allowing to develop breathtaking confidence, persistence, maturity and responsibility. Not that Sudbury's the only way to do this, but in 20 years as an educator I haven't seen any schooling model that does it better. So many more kids could be like this, if only we let them.
By Leo Babauta
I've had a number of parents of young kids (toddlers and preschool-aged) ask what age they should start unschooling -- when is too early? And some parents of older kids (middle school, high school) are also wondering if it's too late to start unschooling.
I'll do my best to answer those two questions in this post.
First -- what age is too early? When can you start, if you have a young child? The simple answer is that you're already doing it. You're unschooling.
Say what? Let me explain: unschooling isn't a specific method of learning. It's basically just living your life, exploring and playing and doing whatever you normally do -- outside of the artificial learning environment we call the classroom. Everyone does it, from adults to toddlers to yes, even kids who go to school. We all unschool.
By Leo Babauta
Unschooling is a version, a subset, of homeschooling -- schooling at home. I also think it's the best version of homeschooling (or learning in general), because it prepares you for life, for being an entrepreneur, for learning anything, for being autonomous.
What makes unschooling different from other homeschooling methods? Often when people homeschool, they just do school at home -- do a curriculum with math, science, reading, history, etc. at home, often with similar teaching methods and books.
But that doesn't take advantage of the freedom of homeschooling! We can do whatever we want, because there are no rules, no one to tell us we're doing it wrong, which means we can get creative as hell.
So unschooling throws all the rules of school out the door: