Opinion: Make school a democracy

kirp140Over the past four decades, schools across Latin America have adopted what’s called the Escuela Nueva (New School) model, which involves learning by doing and giving everyone — students, parents, teachers — a say in how their school is run.

Even though it’s won numerous international awards, and been found to outperform traditional schools, Escuela Nueva is almost unknown in the United States. That can and should change, David Kirp, professor of public policy, wrote recently in the New York Times.

Kirp describes Escuela Nueva schools he visited in Columbia, where students elected by their peers “shoulder a host of responsibilities,” and a student council “meticulously planned a day set aside to promote peace; operated a radio station; and turned an empty classroom into a quiet space for reading and recharging.”

Read Kirp’s essay on the Goldman School of Public Policy website.