Learning in an Age of Schooling

Almost three decades ago a young woman named Ariel quit school. Not to play hooky, but to educate herself. Today, she runs a cutting-edge school for people who aren’t afraid to ask a countercultural question: Why school?

These days, it seems that America as a whole has forgotten to ask the why and has instead become mired in debates about the what of school. As controversy about the Common Core State Standards rages from one end of the nation to the other, a small section of the population has realized that we might be asking the wrong questions. What if how children learn is just as important as what they learn? What if where and with whom they learn matters more than what they score on a standardized test? What if schooling is just one aspect of learning; and perhaps, in some cases, a hindrance to it?

In this series, we explore the stories of community entrepreneurs who equate education with learning, not schooling. We looked for places where we find children learning the most, whether in a school setting or outside of it. While each of the educational programs featured here addresses a different aspect of learning, we have found some common threads among them that shed light on what the future of education may hold.

Based on our observations, genuine education happens when . . .

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