Yearly Archives: 2018

Pat Farenga – The Evolution of Unschooling [PODCAST #586]

history of unschooling

Pat Farenga is a leading unschooling advocate, and the father of three adult unschooled children. He worked closely with unschooling pioneer John Holt on the Growing Without Schooling Magazine, and in the mid-1980s he took over as publisher of GWS and the president of Holt Associates. Today Pat runs the website JohnHoltGWS.com, which archives all the issues of the magazine, plus a variety of unschooling books and resources. He joins me to discuss the history of unschooling (the idea and the movement), his experiences as an unschooling parent, his relationship with John Holt and the language we use to convey our ideas. Pat Discusses The Impact of John Taylor Gatto He met John in 1991 and they became friends. John ...

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Sandra Dodd – On Unschooling and Choice [PODCAST #585]

Sandra Dodd is a world-renown unschooling and natural learning advocate, and the mother of three adult unschooled children. Her website SandraDodd.com is one of the most comprehensive unschooling resources on the internet. She joins me for a fast-paced but fairly comprehensive discussion on unschooling and choice and her unschooling experiences, influences and philosophy. From Public School Teaching To Unschooling How did Sandra's revelations as a teacher help her embrace unschooling? How Sandra was able able to take ownership over her classroom. John Holt and others informed Sandra's approach to teaching Unschoolers and Reading Sandra share the stories of her three children learning to read, and how there might not always be clear incremental steps. A Mindset For Unschooling - "read ...

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[BONUS] THE DISCOMFORT ZONE – Meeting #4

The best and most uncomfortable meeting yet. - Brett and Andrew have a fight. - Brett: Social fatigue, paranoia, alienation, feeling interrogated. Then an epiphany. - Andrew: Productivity jack-offery isn't working. What has to sacrificed for success? - Procrastinating by not prioritizing. Related PostsPre-Show 7-26-1288The line of obedience.Tags: a/vHacky Sack 8-24-1388Tags: a/vShit Has Gone Too Far (Bonus Content Preview)88Tags: bonus, a/vPre-Show 7-19-1287Setting up the show and discussing various off-color topicsTags: a/vPre-Show 8-2-1287Preparing for the idea of doing a solo show.Tags: a/v

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[BONUS] Lessons From My Communication Failures and Successes – The Contra Cruise

This is audio of my two presentations on the Contra Cruise, including a speech, an impromptu workshop and an Ask Me Anything. My speech was written as the cruise progressed and it was delivered in two parts on Thursday and Saturday. It was assembled from thoughts and feelings I gathered from the dinner conversations I had over the week, and it covered a set of experiences, mostly related to the crucial communication of libertarian ideas, that I felt would be useful for the attendees. Topics Include: Thinking Fast and Slow, Emotions are a means of discovery, the Trump election mystery solved, people overwhelmed by information, blowing up the bridges of connection, getting people to say yes vs getting them to ...

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Thank You, John Taylor Gatto [PODCAST #584]

john taylor gatto

In Remembrance 1935-2018 A monologue about the courageous life and work of John Taylor Gatto, and the story of how he changed my life. How many teachers reluctantly acknowledge the failure of mass compulsory schooling? How many become disheartened but then relegate themselves to quiet conformity? How many hunt for the villains, but simply wind up sniveling behind the closed doors of the teachers’ lounge, choosing to blame children and parents? If you've worked in or around the public schools - or even if you simply endured the requisite 15,000 hours as a student - you're likely able to form some rough estimations for these questions. Yet how powerful is the voice of the teacher with the conviction to take ...

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Zak Slayback – How High School Students Can Get Ahead In Their Careers [PODCAST #583]

21st century career advice that guidance counselors don't provide. Zak Slayback returns to discuss some helpful action items ambitious high school students can embrace to position themselves ahead of college graduates in the job market. This is a proven career building formula; Zak will share his stories about how these actions benefited him in his professional climb. It's a upward process of passion-driven learning, making connections, building new knowledge based on those connections, making richer connections based on that new knowledge, signaling that new knowledge, and building a broader network with those signals. Read Zak's blog article, How a High School Student Can Get Ahead in Their Career. Details: - Why young people need to start personal websites while in ...

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[BONUS] THE DISCOMFORT ZONE – Session Three

(AUDIO, 89 MINUTES) In this series, we will build upon and grow our strengths, highlight and improve our weaknesses, diversify and increase our personal and professional skill sets. This ongoing saga will be an open discussion allowing us to question each other's actions to help ensure we are taking the best possible steps to keep us on track achieve our goals. Format: 1. Success: How did each of us "punch the world in the dick" (working title) this week? Greatest achievements. 2. Accountability - Did we take each other's advice from the previous session? How did it work out? 3. "Greatest Discomforts" - What is our biggest challenge/frustration/emotional weight this week? Discussion 4. Action Items - We give each other ...

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Skipping College Isn’t Easy – With Alex Bell [PODCAST #582]

Alex Bell was the teenager I had mind when I first started this whole School Sucks project. Struggling through school and variety of personal challenges, he was the kind of person I hoped to reach. Unfortunately, I didn't know this until we connected in Salem, MA in 2017. He discovered School Sucks Podcast in 2009, when the show was about three months old, and he has been a listener since then. Nine years later, Alex is in The Studio of Champions to talk about his journey from that discovery to the present day. Please Support School Sucks We do cool things! Thanks to your support. School Sucks is one of the longest running liberty-minded podcasts on the web, and the ...

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[BONUS] THE DISCOMFORT ZONE – Session Two

(AUDIO, 125 MINUTES) In this series, we will build upon and grow our strengths, highlight and improve our weaknesses, diversify and increase our personal and professional skill sets. This ongoing saga will be an open discussion allowing us to question each other's actions to help ensure we are taking the best possible steps to keep us on track achieve our goals. Format: 1. Success: How did each of us "punch the world in the dick" (working title) this week? Greatest achievements. 2. Accountability - Did we take each other's advice from the previous session? How did it work out? 3. "Greatest Discomforts" - What is our biggest challenge/frustration/emotional weight this week? Discussion 4. Action Items - We give each other ...

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[BONUS] The Discomfort Zone – Session One, Hour Two

(AUDIO, 64 MINUTES) The first installment of our new supporter-only show - In this series, we will build upon and grow our strengths, highlight and improve our weaknesses, diversify and increase our personal and professional skill sets. This ongoing saga will be an open discussion allowing us to question each other's actions to help ensure we are taking the best possible steps to keep us on track achieve our goals. Today Andrew and I inventory each other's strengths and weaknesses and set some initial accountability goals for each other. Or click HERE Related Posts[BONUS] THE DISCOMFORT ZONE – Session Three71(AUDIO, 89 MINUTES) In this series, we will build upon and grow our strengths, highlight and improve our weaknesses, diversify and ...

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[BONUS] The Discomfort Zone – Session One, Hour One

(AUDIO, 63 MINUTES) The first installment of our new supporter-only show - In this series, we will build upon and grow our strengths, highlight and improve our weaknesses, diversify and increase our personal and professional skill sets. This ongoing saga will be an open discussion allowing us to question each other's actions to help ensure we are taking the best possible steps to keep us on track achieve our goals. Today Andrew and I inventory each other's strengths and weaknesses and set some initial accountability goals for each other. Hour two will follow on Tuesday. Or click HERE

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cinemaNUFACTURING – part three – “Last Looks” [PODCAST #581]

Part 3 of 3: "Last Looks" Tomas "Dutch" Deckaj and Scott Bowers are film makers and School Sucks Podcast listeners. I met them last spring in New Orleans where they were working together on a project. Dutch was the film's First Assistant Director, and he told me his job on set is similar to a principal at a high school. From there we discovered many connections between schooling and the film production process, including Hollywood's reliance on "factory model" of production. In this final installment, we discuss how to film us in the studio as a scene in a movie. Tangents: long takes, "letting the magic happen," and how Taxi Driver went off the rails. Please Support School Sucks We ...

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[BONUS] What Happened With Thaddeus Russell?

Since 2013, Thaddeus Russell made an impact on my life in five areas - as a historian and author, as a podcaster and podcast guest, as a philosopher, as a business partner, and as a friend. And that impact was a positive one in two and a half of those areas. People have been asking what happened? Mike the Producer and I provide the answers, long form. (AUDIO, 60 MINUTES) if you can't see the player, click HERE:

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The Public School “Solution” [PODCAST #580]

A quick discussion about understanding the fears and motivations behind the development of the public schooling system in America. Shane Radliff and I discuss the radical school reform movement of the 1960s and how A Renegade History of the United States helped to add important nuance to my public school history narrative. We do cool things! Thanks to your support. School Sucks is one of the longest running liberty-minded podcasts on the web, and the only one completely devoted to the issue of education (versus public school and college). Your support keeps the show going and growing, which keeps us at the top of the options for education podcasts and leads to new people discovering our work. Please help us ...

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The Lessons of Location Independence [PODCAST #579]

Shane Radliff is a School Sucks listener and the creator of the popular website and podcast, Liberty Under Attack. In this joint production, we discuss the benefits, challenges and lessons of a location-independent lifestyle. Shane is preparing to live a more nomadic lifestyle, so we reflected on my extensive travels over the last year, including School Sucks Across America tour, Renegade University/SSP events and my recent relocation to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We talked about why I decided to pursue such a lifestyle, the importance of being with like-minded individuals in physical space and time, the role past decisions have on limiting freedom, the role of education in personal freedom, our past missteps when trying to discuss the philosophy of liberty with ...

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cinemaNUFACTURING – part two – “Soft Prep” [PODCAST #578]

Part 2 of 3: "Soft Prep" Tomas "Dutch" Deckaj and Scott Bowers are film makers and School Sucks Podcast listeners. I met them last spring in New Orleans where they were working together on a project. Dutch was the film's First Assistant Director, and he told me his job on set is similar to a principal at a high school. From there we discovered many connections between schooling and the film production process, including Hollywood's reliance on "factory model" of production, hence the series title. Today's Discussion: - Dutch and Scott explain where they each started in the film business - Tangent: running the camera - How Dutch and Scott starting working together - Pre-production and the script - How ...

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Tom Woods For President? (No.) – With Tom Woods [PODCAST #577]

In this thinly-veiled 52-minute promotion for the Contra Cruise, happening October 21-28 (tickets available at ContraCruise.com), Tom and I open talking about the cruise, highlights from previous cruises, and the origins of the Contra Krugman podcast. What's up with the title? I recently turned someone on to Tom's show, and after listening for a couple weeks he asked me "why isn't this guy the Libertarian Party candidate for president?" I ask Tom to provide an answer. Before recording, I just listened to Episode 1236 of The Tom Woods show, called A Thousand Statist Arguments Smashed. Also I just moved to Pittsburgh and I have been meeting a lot of new people lately, and have been having some really frustrating political ...

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cinemaNUFACTURING – part one – “Film/School” [PODCAST #576]

Part 1 of 3: "Film/School" - Tomas "Dutch" Deckaj and Scott Bowers are film makers and School Sucks Podcast listeners. I met them last spring in New Orleans where they were working together on a project. Dutch was the film's First Assistant Director, and he told me his job on set is similar to a principal at a high school. From there we discovered many connections between schooling and the film production process, including Hollywood's reliance on "factory model" of production. Dutch, Scott and I will discuss that model in great detail, and we'll question whether or not such a complex process could even work by less efficiency-focused means. We'll also tangent into analysis of some of our favorite films ...

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The Ultimate Freedom – Kevin Geary On Lifestyle Entrepreneurship [PODCAST #575]

lifestyle entrepreneurship

Back to SchoolSucks! We return with an exploration of why and how we can embrace an opportunity that has never existed in all of human history. We're talking about lifestyle entrepreneurship and location/schedule independence. Most of you will remember Kevin Geary as an integrative health coach and the founder of the very successful RebootedBody.com enterprise. Since 2014 he has been a semi-frequent and very-popular guest on School Sucks. Last year Kevin launched a new project called SixFigureGrind.com where he educates people on digital marketing, sales, entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset. SixFigureGrind.com features plentiful free resources, exclusive courses and a podcast where Kevin candidly discusses his successes and failures, shares hard-won wisdom and offers advice on getting to the next level ...

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Being Active Online vs. Being Conscious Online – Moritz Bierling – Part 3 of 3 [PODCAST #574b]

Moritz and I discuss his current work on Holochain, and its role in resolving the digital malaise we've been discussing in this series. This malaise includes "fake news," information (or input) overload, social media fatigue, banning, loss of privacy, no data ownership, etc... Moritz worked as the Director of Research for Exosphere and now serves as an advisor. Exosphere Academy is a learning and problem solving community with 2-day traveling workshops and an 8-week residential program "to learn new skills, build exciting projects with other dynamic people, and jumpstart your new life & career." He has now allocated much of his energy to promoting Holochain adoption. DISCUSSION: * Authors of the first amendment obviously never envisioned this world * the ...

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Creating A True Information Economy – Skinner Layne – Part 3 of 3 [PODCAST #574a]

information economy

Part 3 of this series will be split into two conversations: a one-on-one with Skinner followed by a one-on-one with Moritz, allowing each of them to focus in on their areas of expertise in resolving the digital malaise we've been discussing. This malaise includes "fake news," information (or input) overload, social media fatigue, loss of privacy, no data ownership, etc... We now turn our focus to the creation of a true information economy. Skinner is the founder of Exosphere Academy. Exosphere Academy is a learning and problem solving community with 2-day traveling workshops and an 8-week residential program "to learn new skills, build exciting projects with other dynamic people, and jumpstart your new life & career." He is also the ...

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor? [PODCAST #573]

(Please listen in stereo or with headphones) A conversation about a unique city and its friendliest neighborhood. Zak Slayback and Andrew Mercer are back to discuss the new Fred Rogers documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor. The first hour of our discussion sets the scene in Pittsburgh; we talk in great detail about the city's culture, industry, geography, past, present and future. In hour two we'll explore Fred Rogers as an exemplar of the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, his persuasive skills and his approach to child development. Won't You Be My Neighbor Trailer Please Support School Sucks We do cool things! Thanks to your support. School Sucks is one of the longest running liberty-minded podcasts on the web, and the ...

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Teaching With the Wrong Politics and No License? – With Alex Bell and His Friend Ben [PODCAST #572]

A hilltop teachers' round table on a beautiful Pittsburgh Monday morning. Longtime listener and supporter (and friend) Alex Bell came to Pittsburgh this weekend; we celebrated the 9th anniversary of School Sucks with an adventure around the city and a marathon podcast. One of Alex's aims of this trip was to connect me with his friend Ben, who leans conservative (while being open-minded about libertarian philosophy) and teaches without a degree or license. I thought our conversation would center around the challenges and frustrations of a man with the wrong ideology working in a hostile environment. But it wound up being far more enriching. Ben and I interviewed each other, and shared our educational philosophies, challenges and experiences. Please Support ...

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[BONUS] Inside Film Making – With An Outsider Hollywood Insider

The first and only occurrence of "High School Sucks" (AUDIO 73 MINUTES) Willie (a pseudonym) has worked his way through many levels of film production, ascending from a janitor to an essential part of the creative team on many films. He has organized large productions, written and directed. No player? Click HERE. I first met him at the Renegade U/SSP event in New Orleans, where he was filming an upcoming gangster movie. Willie's current project brings him to Pittsburgh, where he joined me, Andrew and James in the studio for an in depth discussion of the troubling present and possible future of the entertainment industry. Discussed: -Filming sex scenes and dealing with teamsters -Goodfellas and the Shining - Anachronisms and ...

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[BONUS] A Conversation With An OUTSIDER Hollywood Insider

(AUDIO 91 MINUTES) Willie (a pseudonym) has worked his way through many levels of film production, ascending from a janitor to an essential part of the creative team on many films. He has organized large productions, written and directed. I first met him at the Renegade U/SSP event in New Orleans, where he was filming an upcoming gangster movie. Willie's current project brings him to Pittsburgh, where he joined me, Andrew and James in the studio for an in depth discussion of the troubling present and possible future of the entertainment industry. This is the second half of a 3-hour conversation; the first part will be released tomorrow.

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