Really Good Schools
"Utopias too transcend the social situation, for they too orient conduct towards elements which the situation, in so far as it is realized at the time, does not contain. But they are not [merely] ideologies ... in so far as they succeed through counteractivity in transforming the existing historical reality into one more in accord with their own conceptions. ...
"It is no accident that an observer who consciously or unconsciously has taken a stand in favour of the existing and prevailing social order should have a broad and undifferentiated conception of [ideologies versus utopias] ; i.e. one which blurs the distinction between absolute and relative unrealizability. From this position, it is practically impossible to transcend the limits of the status quo. This reluctance to transcend the status quo tends towards the view of regarding something that is unrealizable merely in the given order as completely unrealizable in any order, so that by obscuring these distinctions one can suppress the validity of the claims of the relative utopia. " - Karl Mannheim, Ideology & Utopia, 1936
Vested interests obscure utopias.
On April 26, 2023, at Friends University, Dr. James Tooley, reported that what is dismissed by most in the developed world's educational establishment as mere liberal ideology [ie. completely unrealizable ideas] is an actualized, relative utopia in education which he witnessed first hand on many occasions over many years across the undeveloped world:
high quality, low cost, private schools thriving because
the majority of families believe education is the path for their children to greater prosperity and thus
demand responsible schools from enterprising teachers to whom they are willing and able to pay a living wage
making compulsory, inferior, state schools obsolete and wasteful.
And, according to Tooley, all that is preventing this educational utopia from sweeping across the developed world too is various vested interests who have "taken a stand in favour of the existing and prevailing social order" and simply ignored the fact that, with a few changes in the "given order", this utopia is culturally realizable ANYWHERE.
Counter activists make utopias real.
The US movement to identify and realize educational utopias has actually been growing for decades in various forms under many names other than Horace Mann's common schools ... including Milton & Rose Friedman's School Choice initiatives, John Holt's Growing Without Schooling, Raymond & Dorothy Moore's Home Grown Kids, Doug Wilson's Logos School and more recently the [Jeff] Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless [STOP] Education or James Tooley's Really Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Caliber, Low-Cost Education ... to mention only a few of the many who have entered the fray. The latest entrants are calling themselves microschools and have joined together in a host of local mutual support organizations including Wichita's own WISE.
These establishment-branded "rebels" have proceeded in the only way cultural change happens ... intentional counteractivity ... ignoring establishment claims that what they are attempting is impossible ... even disobeying laws intended to prevent it ... and simply starting their own private schools ... in increasingly large numbers ... which will make changes in the "given order" unavoidable.
The immovable object encounters the irresistible force.
Does this counteractivism mean conflict ahead? Not necessarily.
A very hopeful reality in the brewing culture of education is that deep down inside, with very few exceptions, the individuals who are the vested interests and the counteractivists want the same thing ... REALLY GOOD SCHOOLS FOR EVERYONE [RGSFE] ... really good for teachers, students and parents. This truth came across loud and clear at our meeting with James Tooley when public and private school interests joined in dialogue and discovered they had much more in common than they might have thought.
Teachers want respect for their commitment and the ability to earn a living for their families.
Parents want accountability and are willing [if not always able] to pay sacrificially for their kids' education.
Students want to be excited about learning because it helps them understand and interact with their world.
Everyone else involved in education [including administrations, unions, legislatures and judges] has gotten in the way of these three fundamental and local interests which, as Tooley has assured us, will, if left alone, find the sustainable solutions that are good for everyone.
Thanks for your contribution!
We want to thank our gracious sponsors, our esteemed panelists and all the RGSFE attendees [registered or not] who came and contributed to our day of events. We are leaving the registration page of this website open and encourage you to register to get notice of future RGSFE events. We would especially like to thank those from the public school community who took the time and made the effort to join us. We hope they benefited from attending as much as we did from their contributions.
Won't YOU join us?
To keep the RGSFE spirit alive and growing we will be offering the following very soon ... so stay tuned ... and register to get activity notices.
An RGSFE YouTube channel which will have a wealth of presentations available to view [and special thanks to Marlin Davis for his AV work].
A RGSFE blogsite on which we will host local educators, parents and students to present their views about these important subjects.
An RGSFE planning committee to establish dynamic vision and mission statements that
outline the counteractivities needed to culturally advance this important initiative and
bring public and private participants into a shared pursuit of common goals.
If you would like to nominate somebody for this planning committee, we are taking names!
with you for “really good schools”,
Becky [Love] Elder 316-832-3319 firstname.lastname@example.org