#27: A Pluralistic School

“We’ve moved from an experience rich, information poor world to an experience poor, information rich world.”

And that, according to Joel Pelcyger, is a cause for some deep thinking about the role and value of schools in the modern world.

Pelcyger, who founded Pluralistic School One in Santa Monica, CA 46 years ago, has been the school’s one and only headmaster. And today, he’s advocating a new narrative for learning that is built on some very old thinking, namely that through diversity we strengthen community…and learning.

In this our 27th podcast, Joel and I discuss a variety of topics, from the importance of a strong mission and vision, to building the capacity of parents and others to understand and embrace a different portrait of learning, to creating a larger conversation around change that scales to a larger audience.

In that effort, Joel has created a new site at 1400hours.org which asks the question “What’s the purpose of the 14,000 hours American children spend in school?”

Schools should be driven by values rather than by politics. Shared vision about what schools do needs to come from our individual stories and deeply held values as educators and parents. However, discussions about education often center on accountability, standards, testing, and gaps. What if we first asked more basic questions so we could begin from common ground? What do we really want for our children’s lives? What is the role of school in achieving that? As educators, we need to seek positive solutions that unite us in reimagining schools and their basic premise altogether, and understand the benefit to our society if we do so.

Really hope you enjoy our 35-minute conversation as much as I did.

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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