Saturday, June 26, 2010

What is a Kid-Friendly School?

A kid-friendly school is a school that puts the kids first. A kid-friendly school is one where kids are happy, healthy and learning.

I've had more experience with kid-unfriendly schools, so I can describe them in detail. I live in a well-regarded, very wealthy, suburban school district, which I now know enough to call "nominally high-performing." In our district, you will meet some kids who are depressed, anxious, stressed-out drudges, and others who are brittle, show-offy game-players. These are the good students, of course.

In our district, achievement trumps learning, and reputation trumps reality. If many of these kids get accepted to high-status colleges, this is considered proof that the school system did a good job. But I ask, how does it profit a child, to gain Harvard and lose her mind? I never again want to hear a parent brag about getting her child in to some competitive college, only to have the child suffer a nervous breakdown the first semester and come back home.

If the "great" public schools are really terrible, how terrible are the "bad" public schools?


  1. Love the title and your advocating FOR THE CHILD. Which some called "the product". It comes at a vital time. School budgets will be slashed and calls for privatization will be raised...( though how one finds profit in already financially strapped schools is a mystery never revealed. ) The effect of all this will be to turn up the heat on an already bubbling mess. The children need someone in their corner. Congratulations on your blog!

  2. Congratulations on your blog. I, too, love the emphasis on the child and, of course, I love your ideas and your writing.

  3. Thanks so much for starting this crucial discussion. I will visit often.