Why Are Our Kids So Worried?

The word "anxiety" spelled out with Scrabble tiles

Ask any educator, guidance counselor, local therapist or parent and they will tell you the same thing — the rise in anxiety and depression among young people is alarming. At first glance, this is puzzling. I can hear my grandpa’s voice in my head saying, “What, exactly, do kids these days have to be anxious about?” And it is true in …

Jumping Off a Cliff! But, Not Really…

Sitting on top of a mountain, looking out and taking in the view

Princeton Learning Cooperative has been supporting young people and their families to be in charge of their life and education for the past 8 years. We’ve seen that providing a flexible, interest-based education in a welcoming community with caring adults can be a LIFE-CHANGING idea for young people. In order to get this flexibility to really do what is in …

Self-Directed Education is a Really Good Idea: A TEDx Talk

There is a lot of talk about how traditional education is not always a good fit for every young person. What’s not talked about as much, but is absolutely true from my experience in the system, is that traditional education is not a good fit for many of the adults working there as well. Here’s the video of the TEDx …

It’s Not a Mystery

Let me start with a simple fact: a lot of teenagers don’t like school. (Shocking, I know.) There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the big ones is that many teens don’t feel like they have much say in their day-to-day lives — the work they do, who they interact with, their schedule. This lack of control …

Well-Rounded?

In a blog post about misunderstandings, Seth Godin wrote this: And anyone who has been through high school has been reminded how important it is to be well-rounded. But Nobel Prize winners, successful NGO founders and just about everyone you admire didn’t get that way by being mediocre at a lot of things. It got me thinking. It’s nearly an article of faith …

The Way of Adventure #1

Well, here we go. Our good friend Blake Boles released a free online course designed to help young people take a bigger view of their life and get out of their comfort zones called The Way of Adventure. Me and some folks from PLC are going to give it a shot. There are 12 challenges to complete. Blake says, to date, no …

Don’t Hokey Pokey Your Dreams

My favorite line from our Finding Your Path event in December (see video above) was from Carlos Serrano, owner of Empanada Guy food trucks and restaurant. I’m paraphrasing: You can’t play hokey pokey with your dreams. If you find something you want to do, you can’t be like, “Put your left foot in, take your left foot out.” You have …

It’s Not Funny

If we had a “do-over” on the structure of schools, what would we create? What kinds of things would we focus on? The things on the left side of this image or the right? For most people, it’s a no-brainer—of course kids learn better under the conditions on the left, and these are the things we profess to believe in. …

Being Nudged

I had the chance to meet Grace Llewellyn at North Star’s 20th anniversary celebration last night. This was such an incredible honor for me. Besides Ken Danford (left) and the entire North Star crew, Grace’s work has had the largest influence on the direction of my professional life. When I was a miserable school teacher in 2006, I read Grace’s …

Not Back to School

It’s “Back to School” time! For many young people this is exciting—reconnecting with friends, new classes, new teachers, new opportunities. For some though, as August fades into September the sweet feeling of freedom gives way to a rising sense of dread at the prospect of another school year: the homework, the boredom, the sound of the alarm at that ungodly …