Year 2008 — Volume 2 — Issue 4

Starting a School
Pages: 1-20

As Holt suggests, we need to create gates so that those who want to escape the walled garden can more easily do so. To this end, creating an alternative school is one such gate. Not surprisingly, many believe that doing so entails a lot more obstacles than it actually does. Some believe that you would need many credentials, for example a PhD, or a Masters in education, or you would need to be or have been a principal in a public school or at the very least a certified teacher. The truth is that none of this is a prerequisite for starting your own school and that anyone with the will to do it can. Of course there are challenges, yet these are not insurmountable. We hope that those who are thinking about starting a school will use this piece as a resource and as an inspiration to start their own school and to continue to put up gates for those willing to escape.
Carlo Ricci and Kristin Simpson


Critical Pedagogy and Beyond
Pages: 21-34

In this paper I deal with critical pedagogy’s historical contribution to the contemporary debate on the alternatives to schooling. In particular, I analyse Paulo Freire’s method and its actual applications, and I suggest an interpretative framework to evaluate its successes and its limits. Furthermore, I consider a critical analysis of critical pedagogy based on a teaching/facilitating experience in a formal education setting in the United States. Finally, I contend that educational alternatives to schooling should question the pedagogical fictions of learner and teacher as theoretical generalizations of schooling practice, and should acknowledge the participative nature of knowledge building processes.
Riccardo Baldissone


“No Common Thread”: Identity Crisis at an Alternative School
Pages: 35-65

This study uses the phenomenon, or case, of the White Pine School as the basis for developing an understanding of how schools make their identities clear, distinct, and attractive to participants. This twenty­six­year­old parent cooperative “alternative” private school seems to be experiencing an identity crisis in which there is little consistency of vision and practices with which to enact that vision. The causes, manifestations, and possible solutions to this identity crisis are herein examined.
Kristan A. Morrison, Ph.D


Hypothesis Formation, Paradigms, and Openness
Pages: 66-86

A part of hypothesis formation, while necessary for scientific investigation, is beyond direct observation. Powerful hypothesis formation is more than logical and is facilitated by mind­opening. As Percy Bridgeman, Nobel laureate, said, science is: “Nothing more than doing one’s damnedest with one’s mind, no holds barred.” This paper suggests more open schooling helps generate more open hypothesizing which helps one do one’s damnedest with one’s mind. It is hypothesized that a more open process of hypothesis formation may help schools and society forge new ways of living and learning so that more people more often can do their damnedest with their mind. This writing does not offer a new paradigm but rather attempts to elaborate on the notion that new paradigms are difficult to form without openness to what was previously quasi­unthinkable. More on these topics and issues is included in the author’s Reopening Einstein’s Thought: About What Can’t Be Learned From Textbooks ­­to be published by Sense Publishers in June 2008.
Conrad P. Pritscher