Tag Archives: egalitarian parenting

Strong Parenting Is Key to America’s Future

My eye caught the above title in an Education Week magazine on-line teaser and couldn’t resist reading the article, by Joseph Gauld, the founder of the Hyde Schools. I certainly wasn’t comfortable with his Cold War “us and them” framing of the need for good parenting…

Not so long ago, we vigorously opposed Russian Communism’s threat to our American beliefs. Now China is projected to replace us as the world’s economic leader… To reaffirm democratic principles for ourselves and other nations, we must meet China’s economic challenge to our leadership… Today, we need the leadership of American mothers, fathers, and all surrogate parents. We need them to begin to develop a standard of excellence in parenting and family, now and for future generations.

Classic hierarchical patriarchal stuff here, framing everything in terms of a high stakes competition between adversaries to determine superiors and inferiors, good and evil, within the pecking order. That rather than a more egalitarian view of China as a problematic peer and partner.

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Summerhill and a Truly Egalitarian Childhood

I’m in the midst of reading Matthew Appleton’s book, A Free Range Childhood, about his experience in the 1990s being a “houseparent” at the Summerhill independent boarding school in Leiston, Suffolk in England. It is a fascinating glimpse into a more egalitarian (I would argue more evolved) way of adults, children and youth interacting with each other in a living and educational setting. It is also the world’s most iconic, long-lasting and successful democratic free-school that has inspired other such schools around the world. And finally, the account of life and learning at Summerhill recalls similar experiences I have had in my own life, as a youth and later as a parent, that confirm the efficacy and vitality of this unorthodox approach to childhood and education.

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