What to do if a progressive school is not in your area

Learn about: What to do if a progressive school is not in your area from Paul Cummins, PhD,...
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What to do if a progressive school is not in your area

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If a parent were to live in a small town and the only school available is the local PS 109 or whatever it is, and you are interested in progressive education; what do you do? Obviously, you have to supplement. You, the parent, have to become what parents have always been, which is educators to their children. It means you are going to have to spend more time with your child and not assume that school is going to do everything you'd like to see happen. One of the things that you might do in that situation is provide your son or daughter with as many different kinds of experiences you can. Get to know what that child is really interested in, which is what parents need to do anyhow. In some ways, it's easier; and in some ways, it's harder in a big city to expose your kid in as many activities as you can to see if they gravitate to. Somehow, as a parent, you are going to have to find those experiences your kid loves doing and then you are going to have to find ways to bring those resources to your child if the school doesn't do it.

Learn about: What to do if a progressive school is not in your area from Paul Cummins, PhD,...

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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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