Human Restoration Inside the School System? [PODCAST #598]

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We've talked a little in the past about school survival. But we haven't given enough attention to those who work inside the schools to make them more survivable.

My guest is Chris McNutt, a public school teacher and one of the founders of the Human Restoration Project. HRP is an educational movement to transform school systems, restoring students as human beings rather than a vessel for standards. The organization focuses on school reform, offering personalized professional development services and various materials geared toward changing mindsets in education. Chris is also the host of a progressive education-focused podcast called Things Fall Apart.

So...what happens next? Do we fight?

No. But I do ask for clarity on the term "progressive education." Chris explains it as transition from traditional compulsory schooling to a student-centered focus and to the embrace of three core values.

1. passion is central to education
2. the embrace of creativity
3. the promotion of non-standardized learning

We agree that the public schools are reducing humans into vessels of content rather than embracing their humanity, but I express skepticism about the possibility of true reform. I have no conception of how the current system could ever deliver the results Chris and I both find desirable.

We also discuss helping young people think about and find purpose. But this is deep work; is it too invasive a job for the public schools?

Chris and I have similar stories from our teaching careers. He became very disillusioned early on, and he embarked down a new path away from the traditional expectations of a public school teacher. We also both experienced a kind of savior complex that set us up for failure and disappointment early in our careers. We'll discuss this and much more.

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