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Applying the work of John Holt and Illich, I am an advocate for ultimately voluntary and humane educational social services.  Real school change means grasping compulsory attendance laws that remove all power from families and how grading/grade level are a part of the factory model, an operating system that needs changed. 

We could operate schools differently, using an open system like that used in the 1970s, building school networks that allowed kids to participate and build relationships outside of their local school hub. This would mean letting citizens begin the process of desegregation at a grassroots level by building new social relationships outside of their district in ways we have never been able to do in the past. 

We could have schools that are community learning resources with a democratic process and citizen access. Families could make far more choices and most would still want learning services from schools.  I know the voluntary part of this seems incredible to many but I also believe we would have to restructure child protective services entirely. We ostensibly use schools to regulate families and capitalism has decimated the working-class family. At the end of the day, if families are not harming the child, they should be provided services they need and can access to better support their family. In many cases, that would expand services.

Families are finding they enjoy learning together and communities can do this, too.  Homeschooling has pioneered a knowledge base of families, of all stripes and kinds, who have learned many valuable lessons for real school change.  Now communities must move in this direction and build on this knowledge to make schools that are family-friendly, community-based resources for learning

None of these ideas are new or even mine.  I have read Holt and other educational activists (see Homage), read Home Education Magazine and the wonderful work of the Kasemans, talked with Sandra Dodd and unschoolers, done stuff with conservative Christian homeschoolers, followed the activities of HSLDA, attended homeschooling conferences with many parents, and worked with new homeschoolers and I have always wound up discussing compulsory attendance laws, about which John Holt wrote this in 1972:
"Since the jail function is not a humane function and works against the humane task of helping learning and growth, since we cannot at the same time and in the same place be in the jail business and in the learning business, we must get ourselves out of the jail business."    --- from "Schools Against Themselves" in Freedom and Beyond
Holt also grasped that our current system of credentialing and diplomas would have to be changed. Today, we can see that a credential industry limits a lot of vital economic activity. Ultimately, some of this is beyond the question of schooling. Credentials should not be the way we ration good jobs. Requiring a BA for government service, when that degree is not provided free, means we are restricting who can serve in government in dangerous ways. Wages need to be good for all jobs so that the credential industry does not warp our economy
"We can not make too clear ... [that] by deschooling we mean among other things that people shall not be judged or discriminated against on the grounds of their schooling or lack of it., or because they cannot do well on school type tests. Deschooling means not only doing away with compulsory attendance laws, the threat of law, but also doing away with our whole system of diplomas and credentialing, which keeps many young people locked in school after the law would let them out.  In short, proposals to deschoool society come in a context most unlikely to appeal to Stone Age millionaires."  --- from "Beyond Schooling" in Freedom and Beyond 
Since Holt wrote this, homeschoolers have changed compulsory attendance laws in all 50 states. This grassroots effort by families of all kinds is the real school reform movement.  It is an effort by families to reclaim education from mass institutions in which a humane and truly social learning environment cannot be achieved.  My hope is that in a time of change, we begin to understand the lessons homeschooling has for real, system-wide change. 

I see homeschooling as a spontaneous decentralization movement, citizen-led and growing. Real change in education will need to understand this large and effective citizen movement that incorporates people of many different viewpoints. Along these lines, I believe that homeschooling and other grassroots alternative education models, align well with the Green Party's Ten Key Values and I have tried to use these wonderful tools on a page with the same name.

Contact me at: postinspace@gmail.com