Writing

Adultism

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“When I was young, my dad used to call [adultism] ‘age discrimination.’ He would talk to me about how unfair it was. When I used to bring it up with other adults in my life, they would laugh at me.”
–September, age 14

“I don’t want to talk to them about it. The adults here just get their way all of the time.”
–Anonymous, age 10

“‘Kidding?’ That’s offensive to kids.”
–Anonymous, age 7

“That was such a ‘teen’ thing to say. So arrogant.”
–Anonymous, adult

“You make a better student than teacher. Teachers tell students what to do.”
–Anonymous, age 12

In an effort to recognize moments of discriminatory adultism, to sit in the discomfort, and to grow from it, we are calling out instances in a series of articles. We invite you to take the journey with us. The first steps are the most difficult, but once you start noticing it becomes hard to stop.

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(Self-Directed) Education is a Political Act

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2020-01-01″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

The front page of the 1999 course calendar for the Anarchist Free Space and Free Skool (AFS) of Toronto stated:

Education is a political act. By deepening our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us, sharing skills and exchanging experiences in an egalitarian, non-hierarchical setting free of prejudice, we challenge disempowering habits and broaden our awareness of alternatives to the inequalities of a capitalist society.1

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The Misuse of Words

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2019-12-26″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

I grew up being an “ah, you know what I mean,” kind of a person, using words in the same manner as I consume sandwiches at my rushed lunchtime at the SDE center I work at: just get something in there and make it work. That meant that I often used dangerously inaccurate words that I slowly realized were causing a lot of misunderstandings and a lot of miscommunication (along with a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

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The Art of Self-Direction

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2019-09-24″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

This past May I was invited to Istanbul to give a talk at an alternative education conference. Upon arrival, I found out that after translation time was accounted for, I had only about 20 minutes for my main presentation on Self-Directed Education. How does one explain Self-Directed Education in 20 minutes? I walked on stage, and gave it my best shot with this story:

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An Interview with Jim Flannery

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2019-05-15″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

“You’re basically saying, ‘Oh so, I get to choose whether I walk through the door or whether you’re gonna drag me through the door. And I get to choose which experience I have.’ And so, there are these ways of kind of giving the illusion of choice if you don’t really look at this as a human rights issue.”

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Seas Rising Up, Youth Rising Up

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2019-03-18″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

Seas Rising Up!

[img class=”p0 caption-outside breakout” src=”/img/tp/2019/11507-khost-1.jpg” align=”right” width=”450px” alt=”Youth Climate Strike, City Hall, New York City, March 15, 2019″]Outside City Hall in NYC on Friday, photo by James Khost[/img]

At 5:06pm this past Friday evening I got my first of several text alerts. It was from Abby Oulton, the Co-Director of the Agile Learning Center in New York City, who wrote, “Noah successfully got arrested.” And so, I dug around on Facebook for a while and found the live stream footage I was looking for: the arrest of my boss and friend, Noah Apple Mayers, Founder and Director of Brooklyn Apple Academy, a Self-Directed Education (SDE) unschooling center in Brooklyn, NY. He was with Janna Beckler, a friend and the mother of two of our students, and a group of other people I did not know, arms locked, smiling and standing in the middle of Central Park West in uptown Manhattan, carrying out an act of civil disobedience. Moments later some police handcuffed them all and took them out of the camera frame. Dozens of young people stood behind and on the sidewalk nearby in support. This was a part of the March 15th Youth Climate Strike that took place worldwide, with thousands and thousands of young people everywhere walking out of school in protest over inaction on climate change.

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Racial Equity in Self-Directed Education

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2019-02-14″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

Two weeks ago, my two older children, another local New York City family, and I dared an 1,800 and something mile weekend road trip* down to Atlanta for the Heartwood Agile Learning Center Liberation & Education Summit. This year the annual social justice conference, which took place on February 2, 2019 focused specifically on racial equity in Self-Directed Education (SDE). I will be reflecting and acting on the event for a long time coming, as it gave me so much insight into the anti-oppression work that needs to be done in SDE– the work that I must do. It also gave me a glimpse into the lives of some beautiful, inspiring people, most especially the courageous Women of Color who spoke at the morning panel.

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Role for Initiative

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2018-11-16″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

In 1979 at the age of four, I was introduced to the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) when my oldest brother Gregory came and fetched me and my other older brother Peter to play our first game together. It probably took years for me to play the game by the actual rules, as D&D is a complex game filling pages and pages of books with instructions; however, onward I went into my teenage years hooked on the game, and playing at every opportunity I could. Winter and spring breaks my brothers, our friends, and I would literally lock ourselves away for an entire week and just play and play. Had it been a video game today, adults would have been describing our behavior as an “addiction.”

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An Intersection

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2018-08-31″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

The cover image is one of my favorite prints, Paul Klee’s*, “Two Men Meet, Each Believing the Other to Be of Higher Rank” described as “offering a criticism of society’s propensity for rigid hierarchy.” An inspiring painting professor of mine at Reading University in the UK showed it to me many years ago. The print was the initial influence for all of these following thoughts on an intersection.

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Friends of the Modern School Interview

[postmeta author=”Alexander Khost” photo=”/img/tp/alexander-khost.jpg” date=”2018-07-19″]Alexander Khost (he/him) is a father and youth rights advocate. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Tipping Points and founder of Voice of the Children. Read more[/postmeta]

Introduction

The self-directed anarchistic Stelton Modern School ran for over four decades and was the most influential and longest lasting school of the early Twentieth Century Modern Schools (see my previous article for more on the history of the Modern Schools). The Friends of the Modern School organization has run since 1973, serving both as a historical reference of the Modern Schools as well as an advocate for current models of anarchistic education.

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