About the Center

What occurs inside someone while they learn is even more important than what or how well they learn.

Welcome to the Center for Educational Purpose. Based on my experience founding and directing a democratically run school for children age six to fourteen for twelve years, and during the course of writing three books (with a fourth due out next year) based largely on what I learned during those years, it has become increasingly obvious to me that the main problem which we face relative to improving our schools and methods of education is one of possessing too narrow a focus on what the purposes of educaton and schooling in our society are, and what they might become. Therefore, hopefully over time this site will become a place for all of us to explore that larger purpose together.

One of the reasons there has been so much frustration and uncertainty concerning how young people are educated today in our society is simply that our own perspective on what education and schooling are supposed to accomplish has become so limited. Rather than considering such things as the relationship between academic learning and a young person’s evolving inner life; how the structure of our learning environments can engender the more creative learning which is necessary for participation in today’ information age; or how the modern classroom might become truly interconnected with the world of professional expertise, we are instead increasingly concerning ourselves with the controversy over the use of standardized test scores, or with the ongoing debate between those who support public schooling and those who want a more privatized approach, such as charter school proponents do.

Rather, if we were to begin with what occurs inside young people as they apprehend and learn from their world, and then work toward establishing structures for how that apprehension might take place in a truly healthy manner, we might begin to develop learning environments which are both more effective and more developmentally healthy. All positive change proceeds from the inside out, and how young people learn is certainly no exception. Please feel welcome to contribute your thoughts and ideas.