Welcoming students and parents to Northstar Family
t began as a seed of an idea on a sleepy afternoon 3 years ago in Cambridge. Dreaming about it and seeing kids walk in to the school with their parents are two utterly different experiences. When I started thinking about the school, I realized that people are looking for utilitarian outcomes like jobs and placements, packages and benefits. I felt an undercurrent of apathy towards the thinking and inquiring approach to education. But there is a community, albeit a small one, that exists in defense of the libertarian and democratic education. So what is â€œrightâ€ for the society? That question kept me up at night for too long. Eventually and repeatedly, I have had to come to an understanding, a kind of acceptance, that as much as I have the right to imagine society in the light of experiences Iâ€™ve had, others have equal and possibly divergent views given their journey of life. But it is still possible to make a value judgment that the society we live in has, as its members, people who are able to ask the right questions, are able to think independently and out of their â€œmindsetâ€ established by a lifetime of experiences. Can our current system of prescribed curriculum, regimented routines, assessment systems and accountability structures create an environment where students donâ€™t have to be like everyone else?
I donâ€™t believe so.
Having spent a very long time in thinking about the purpose of education, a person eventually needs to make a choice on practicalities of such ramblings. The bridge between, in Aristotleâ€™s terms, â€œTheoriaâ€ and â€œPraxisâ€ needs to be scaled or at least a choice of staying in one needs to be made. I have chosen (or made to choose, Iâ€™m not quite sure) a life of â€œPraxisâ€, of doing things. And that necessitates messy work, being able to live to compromises and managing expectations. But I am quite evidently on the road to progressive education and If I had the slightest bit of influence, I would urge you to think the same. Ultimately a good education for me, in Deweyâ€™s words, is freedom to express and cultivate individuality rather than imposition from above, free activity rather than external discipline, learning through experience rather than texts and teachers alone, and living a present life rather than living in preparation of a remote future.
- Mohit Patel, Founder