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A devastating critique of the American way of education and a hopeful blueprint for change which can unlock the creativity and joy of learning inherent in all students.
In this book Nikhil Goyal—a journalist and activist, whom The Washington Post has dubbed a “future education secretary” and Forbes has named to its 30 Under 30 list—both offers a scathing indictment of our teach-to-the-test-while-killing-the-spirit educational assembly line and maps out a path for all of our schools to harness children’s natural aptitude for learning by creating an atmosphere conducive to freedom and creativity. He prescribes an inspiring educational future that is thoroughly democratic and experiential, and one that utilizes the entire community as a classroom.
About the Author
Nikhil Goyal is a PhD candidate in Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge and journalist who has appeared on MSNBC and FOX and has written for The New York Times, MSNBC, The Nation, and other publications. Goyal has also had speaking engagements with the Clinton Global Initiative University, Google, Stanford, Cambridge, SXSW, and the LEGO Foundation, among others. In 2013, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Freedom Flame Award. Goyal holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Education degree from the University of Cambridge.
“Schools on Trial is a terrific book, terribly important, written with the kind of energy that ought to stir a lot of students and then parents to resist the dismal status quo. Nikhil Goyal made me nostalgic: John Holt and I taught together in the first year of Upward Bound. George Dennison and I became good friends three years later. Ivan Illich called me on the phone in 1968 (I had no idea who he was) and literally ordered me to spend a month with Paolo Freire. I can't tell you how grateful I am that Nikhil Goyal is bringing fuel to an old fire that Holt and Freire first ignited for us almost 50 years ago.” —Jonathan Kozol
“Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury and many other famous writers, artists, journalists, and computer coders would have failed in today's educational system. Schools on Trial will force you to think deeply about problems in today's schools.” —Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Autistic Brain
“This well-documented, solid, highly engaging book gives me hope for the future of education. Nikhil Goyal does much more than explain the failings of our standard, coercive schools. He reviews the growing number of alternative educational routes that are empowering and joyful rather than demeaning and dreary. We look to the day when such choices are available to everyone.” —Peter Gray, Research Professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Rarely do we think of high school students as prisoners, but Nikhil Goyal does—and he should know because he was one until just a few years ago. His book is a powerfully written, revolutionary indictment of our system of schooling. Goyal makes a compelling case for the need to listen to the voices of kids and offer meaningful learning alternatives.” —Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and Expert in Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab
“A blistering critique of the damage and injustices wrought by standardized education and a visionary, practical vision of the essential alternatives that lie in our reach. Highly recommended for anyone with a serious interest in the well-being of our children and the sanity and health of our communities.” —Sir Ken Robinson, author of Creative Schools and The Element