Benefits of attending a progressive school

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Benefits of attending a progressive school

I think some of the benefits of a child attending a progressive school are felt in the home by the parents, because if the child is looking forward to going to school in the morning and isn't saying, "I've got a stomach ache and I don't want to go to school," or isn't calling the parent at noon saying, "Please come get me because I'm not feeling well," which is really code for I'm having a horrible day, I'm having a horrible time. But if a child is looking forward to going to school and then comes home at the end of the day excited about school, then there's all sorts of conversations that can take place at home, and there's all sorts of activities that can grow out of that excitement. But if the kid is morose and depressed and feeling over-pressured, then the parent in some ways gets excluded from the whole educational process. So a huge benefit of a joyful progressive education is that it then becomes a family enterprise.

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Paul Cummins, PhD

Educator & Author

Dr. Paul Cummins, President and CEO of Coalition for Engaged Education (CEE), received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard, and his doctorate from the University of Southern California.  In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School in Santa Monica and built it into one of Los Angeles’s most successful educational institutions and a national model for innovative, independent schools. 

In 1995, Cummins stepped down as Headmaster of Crossroads and formed New Visions Foundation (now Coalition for Engaged Education) to offer opportunities for Engaged Education to all youth. The first venture was New Roads School, a diverse, K-12 independent school in Santa Monica that has a deep commitment to social justice. New Roads devotes 40% of its tuition budget to need-based student financial aid, guaranteeing access to students from a wide socioeconomic array. Cummins has since implemented a number of innovative programs to help children at risk.

Cummins has published four books on education, including Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education (2004), and Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for all Students (2007), both published by Red Hen Press. His most recent book of essays, Why Poetry? Reflections on Poetry, Writing and Culture, was published in 2009 by Xlibris, in addition to two volumes of his poetry and two children's books published in recent years. He is currently finishing Confessions of a Headmaster: My Pursuit of Joy and Justice in Education (forthcoming from Red Hen Press).

Cummins and his wife Mary Ann reside in Santa Monica. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

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