“Play-Doh? Calculus? At the Manhattan Free School, Anything Goes” by Susan Dominus

This article, written by Susan Dominus (link to another article by Susan Dominus) and published by The New York Times describes the philosophy and routine of Manhattan Free School, a unique private school  in New York. This school operates under the theory that students will eventually find their passions and “be eager to” learn about them, but that  until then, they should be able to do whatever they are inclined to. So, students are enrolled in classes, not exactly standard ones and the all of the classes are of the students choosing, but they may do something else, such as play with play-doh, instead of working on class assignments. There are no grades or tests, only two official teachers, and all matters of school policy are decided upon by a vote which includes students.

I do not believe that I would flourish under such a school system. I was home-schooled for two years when I would have been in 6th and 7th grade, and while I read as much Jane Austen and Laura Ingalls Wilder as I wished, my education in math, science, and the grammatical points of english suffered. I believe that in order for a person to flourish in such a system as the Manhattan Free School, they would have to find their passion very soon and be very determined to learn and study whatever it may be. There are problems with the accepted form of education, as there are with anything, nothing is perfect. But I believe that this form of education works for many people, myself included.

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  1. I would have to agree with you that I would not flourish under that type of system either. It seems to be too free and loose without a base for the students to build off of. By having students go through core classes it not only improves their skills in other classes, it allows them to decide what they will do. Most people do not know what they want to do or what they are good at doing at such a young age.
    -Zack

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