With the assistance of Ken Danford, founder of Northstar Self Directed Learning for Teens, Joel liberated himself from being a public school teacher and together with his team team established the Princeton Learning Cooperative. Now Joel and Ken and many others provide a comprehensive support system for others trying to establish a similar centre through an organisation called Liberated Learners.
The author steers clear of too much education philosophy. Rather it is an honest part autobiographical story, sharing his reflections, lessons learned and the structures and mechanisms to liberate himself and create a place where teachers and young people can thrive. Also included are short pieces by teen members are other liberated learners on their experiences and adventures in attending or creating a self directed learning centre. His own journey of learning and unlearning are also an example of what self directed education looks like.
But this book is for more than teachers held hostage to the system, or people trying to build a self directed learning centre. It is also a fantastic way to showcase in a real and practical way a powerful possibility of an alternative to compulsory, coercive schooling and what self directed education can look like. It is also a fantastic book to read if you reading about people living their passions.
If you noticed the similarity in the title, to Grace Llewelyn’s Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quite school and get a Real Life and Education, know that it is intentional. This is the book that got Ken Danford started on his journey out of misery and into creating Northstar. This is also still the most recommended book Northstar suggests young people and their parents read.