Equal rights for young people in any and all forms of education

Often kids are forced to do assignments and homework and tests, and study things they do not choose to study that society has pushed on them. Some of the results of this are sleep deprivation, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, even suicide. Forcing kids also prevents them from following their passions if they are not core-related. If you ask anybody they will tell you they have favorite subjects and activities, as well as ones they don’t enjoy, and sometimes it’s also about teachers’ personalities and the fact that they get to teach you the way they want to teach you and not the way that you want to learn. There is no benefit forcing someone to learn what they don’t want to, because they are going to focus on the things they do want to learn, and if they don’t need or want to know it they will forget it anyway, so what is the point? Human rights are human rights whether you are young or old. Adults are not forced to learn against their will. Young people should not be forced either.

We value your support. We’re not here to argue, if you do not support this, please do not leave a comment, we are not here to fight. If you do have problems with this, think there are holes in it, don’t understand it, or just want to explore more, here are some appropriate places to comment and ask questions. Alliance for Self-Directed Education – (ASDE) Facebook or Website You can also try the Facebook group SDE For All and the website at Fhree

We demand equal rights for young people in any and all forms of education.
We call on all governments to make laws that respect, protect, and promote young people’s right to consent – to say yes and no – to choose and direct their own education.

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I agree with this because...

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70 replies on “Equal rights for young people in any and all forms of education”

I agree with this because…
...conventional school was a traumatic experience for me. Between bullying, shaming over grades, and inflexible requirements, conventional school fed my depression and anxiety.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because I think the best way of learning is to go after your passions and interests. There's no need for everybody to be learning the same things if we've all different interests and things we're good at doing.
I agree with this because…
The school psychologist told me that I am too intelligent to do Art, so I have to do Geography instead. Really? Artists are not intelligent? How can a person like that be in charge of my life? How can people keep believing kids will make the wrong choices when adults make so many bad choices for us anyway? At least if the choice is mine, it is mine.
I agree with this because…
People have the choice. Kids should explore their potential Freedom is the base of respect
I agree with this because…
I Agree with this. Education should be compulsory however all children should have the right to choose what kind of education they get, and in what field.
I agree with this because…
I didn't enjoy public school, people always telling me where too go and what too do and how too do it, but now im free too explor the paths that interest me and will help me become a better person in my own way and not societies way
I agree with this because…
because I don't believe a piece of paper can define my intelligence
I agree with this because…
school doesn't leave you much free time to find out what YOU want to do/learn,
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because it might help somebody who really needs help somebody stuck somewhere they don't want to be some young person who needs support
I agree with this because…
Children must be allowed to learn what they want to learn and in their own time and own way , You should be allowed to be free and do what you want to do and do what you love
I agree with this because…
Students have the right to receive an education in an environment that respects them as full members of society.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because convention education is not for everyone and we must get away from one size fits all syndrome. Each student learns at her/his own pace and have different skills that they can grow through different subjects.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because young people generally know what they want and need. They have wisdom and intelligence just like adults. In fact, some might even say the young minds are more creative, more flexible, and more clear. It's time to respect ALL people, including children and young adults. It is urgent to give respect and freedom to them regarding their education.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because I am self directed but one of my friends is in compulsory education and it makes me so sad seeing that she never can do what she wants or follow her passions
I agree with this because…
Restrictive and REQUIRED testing, learning, expectations have led to a lot of anxiety in myself and my children. Our kids need to be able to learn and expand and exceed at a pace that suits THEM, not a set timeline that leaves no room for exploration. Students sacrifice hours upon hours out of their days just to meet the demand of school, leaving slim pickings for time to spend with family or friends or even doing extra stuff. Learning should be a life long love and not a series of force fed info that gets filed away only to have a person panic when a test comes up and they HAVE to provide the 'right' answer.
I agree with this because…
Every child has the right to decide what the child needs to study and develop according to the natural skill he ir she has. Another important right the child has is to decide the future and life of his or her own. Nobody else can interfere in these rights and decide for the child.
I agree with this because…
La educacion democrática es educacion libre porque la gente votan por la más libertad que posible. Y eso es educación por el futuro, por maestras(os) como por alumnos(as)
I agree with this because…
school promised to give me a high-flying future, and gave me instead a breaking point impossibility of homework pressure horror, where everyone wanted to believe the school's delusions and I had no say over the rational limits to my own ability. Destroying my chance as a child author and landing me in also too controlling teenage psychiatry. Homework pressure and case evidence like mine has always been completely kept out of the media's and mainstream politics's pictures of school, even in an era that thinks it's hot on child protection ! www.libed.org.uk/index.php/articles/414-high-learning-potential My body comfort sensory issues also in unhelpful miserable conflict with both the uniform and peer cultures of school for older boys in Britain, that don't allow shorts, actively inflamed by TV comedies, + gender discriminatorily while the girls' comfort choices are freer.
I agree with this because…
It is boring to do what other people tell you to do, and I love learning about cats and school won't let you do that. And cats will rule the world one day, so the bossy people in schools better step down while they still got a chance!
I agree with this because…
How would you expect to become an adult that respects other people when you did not experience this when you where young! Forcing people to comply and coercing them to learn sends a very bad message and the wounds that these practices inflict in people will be with us all their lives. We have to stop this cycle of violence! How could someone not agree with this if we want to live peacefully together in this universe?
I agree with this because…
I could perform very well on any subject the schools I went to offered me, and as a result, I wasn't able to explore where my true passions lied. I had to find myself after finishing school. School taught me to be the best, and yet that wasn't my best.
I agree with this because…
it is simply the right thing for me to do. It is not acceptable to me to coerce any human being without very, very good reason. In my 15 years of searching and reading and listening I have never yet encountered even one *good* reason given for coercing young people's learning. Most 'reasons' are misinformed - there's a misguided fear that young people will be disadvantaged in some way if they are empowered instead of coerced. The only *informed* reasons I have seen for educational coercion have to do with intentional social engineering - deliberate brainwashing in order to achieve some or other kind of forced enculturation. Whether this is about colonial and post-colonial governments ensuring veneers of 'whiteness', corporations ensuring their supply of wage slaves, fundamentalist / narcissistic families and religious groups wanting mini-me's, or well-meaning people trying to force their own preferred values on others, these reasons are not *good*.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because I think children are as much humans as adults. I even think that they are sometimes are smarter and more capable then adults. And if young people wouldn’t be capable take care of their life then humankind wouldn’t survive to this point. And in my experience as a teacher I see that efficiency of coercive education is so low, that it seems like a waste of time of teachers and pupils. But on other hand when somebody regardless to age explores things that they want to get to know efficiency rises incredibly.
I agree with this because…
I too feel that much of my time at school was wasted, even though I was at a very nice private school. I agree with passion driven learning. I have young children of my own and wanted them to learn along with other children in a lovely relaxed atmosphere and so I opened a self directed learning centre in the West Midlands where they could direct their own learning but have had to put it on hold for certain reasons which can be seen on my website and facebook page: www.rochfordhouse.co.uk if anyone is interested in viewing x
I agree with this because…
Zwang keine Lösung ist, um Bildung zu fördern. Würden Schulen den Bedürfnissen junger Menschen entsprechen, bräuchten sie keinen Zwang. Erzwungenes Lernen ist keine adäquate Bildung. Jeder Mensch hat das natürliche Recht sich seinen Bedürfnissen, seinen Talenten und Qualitäten entsprechend zu bilden und sich zu dem zu entwickeln, der er selbst sein möchte - nicht zu dem, der ihm vorgegeben wird. Es wird Zeit, die Rechte, die so schön auf Papier in Gesetzen geschrieben, jungen Menschen endlich vollumfänglich zu gewähren. Coercion is not a solution to promote education. If schools were to meet the needs of young people, they would not need to be forced. Forced learning is not an adequate education. Everyone has the natural right to develop according to their needs, talents and qualities and to develop into who they want to be - not to those who are given them. It is time to finally fully grant young people the rights so beautifully written on paper in laws.
I agree with this because…
Children’s instinct is to explore the environment around them, be curious about the world and naturally develop the skills they need to live, achieve their goals and maximize their potential. Let’s come together in love, faith and trust and set all children free from school!
I agree with this because…
School curiculums are outdated and still focused on the industrial age. We are in the information age. Curiculums also restrict the creative, curious and innate learning ability of a young person. Every person can develop their learning capacity by following their natural interest in subjects and things. Being forced to learn something, is unnatural and is detrimental to the holistic wellbeing of a human. The person who invented tests, advise that testing systems must not be used on children. Through testing, the informatio is mostly stored in the short-term memory, whereas, when someone learns out of curiousity, it is stored in the long term memory.
I agree with this because…
to assume any person has the right to insist another has to learn something just because they deem it valuable, while denying them the right to choose for themselves, is to deny them their basic human rights and freedoms. Unfortunately most educational institutions do not grant their students the most basic of rights by not allowing them to think or act for themselves, even going so far as to force them to ask for permission to perform basic bodily functions. Most curriculums are outdated and written by people out of touch with the realities of today's world and all the emerging technologies. Our children are aware of this and know that the old ways of doing things will not serve them in their futures. They should be allowed the opportunity to learn what they choose as the future belongs to them.
I agree with this because…
Young people should be given the choice to focus on their passions, which will lead them to discover their careers. People do not absorb information which does not interest them. It is a waste of their time and feels like punishment. Whereas they thrive when given the opportunity to pursue what they are curious about. School did not prepare me at all for the working world. It took me 12 extra years of actively searching & learning to discover a career which I enjoyed.
I agree with this because…
There is SO much to say on this topic, but as a parent of two busy kids I need to keep it short. I understand that compulsory education was instilled to some degree to protect children and ensure their future wellbeing. But in so doing it has actually backfired in many ways as it infringes on their freedom as human beings, and in many ways limits their ability to learn and explore the world around them. There are also many toxic elements to the schooling system and it is an outdated model. There are other ways, better ways, that are more progressive. Why would we choose to stay stagnant using a model that no longer serves us when the options to adapt eduction to every child's need is out there waiting to be utilized. What an exciting time we live in to be at the cusp of a new profound era with limitless possibilities for our children and future generations, or we can just put our heads in the sand and continue on as we always have and make no progress, going against the very thing that makes us human - the ability to think, choose, act in our best interest for our survival as a species. What will you choose?
I agree with this because…
I can not be absolutley sure that what works/worked for me will work for others. We are all here with unique contributions and we need the freedom to develop them to their own potential! I wish everyone the amazing lightness of feeling that comes from releasing control and learning to trust!
I agree with this because…
My son was told since grade 1 that he's not like most kids. I could never understand why it was so important for him to be like most kids! I could only ever resonate with the understanding that he is whoever he wants to be and I can never take that away from him. Taking my son out of the mainstream education system was the last decision I made for him. After that, for him being able to be in a self directed education environment has allowed him to own his right to making his own decisions! Give the children their rights back, and you'll see the world change dramatically before your eyes, isn't it exciting!
I agree with this because…
I agree win this because I believe in radical democracy. People learn what they live, and we learn to live democratically by self determined learning in a community that respects human rights and community response-ability, not coerced obedience and exploitation.
I agree with this because…
For my daughter, the public school experience was far too full of bullying from both children and other teachers. It is so institutionalized that no one sees a problem with what they are doing. We lived in a country where homeschooling and unschooling are considered failures and borderline illegal rather than choices to preserve one's right to live and learn in an emotionally and physically safe environment. I do not wish her experience on any other human.
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because children need a guide, mentoring or similar so they cand find their own potential, their own talents and be able to explore them and be great at them!
I agree with this because…
I agree with this because...decades of dreadful, teacher centered and obsolete education has led kids to lose interest in learning creating 3-4 generations of robot-narrow minded adults doing automated things for the sole purpose of following a paradigm imposed more than 300 years ago in another century!!
I agree with this because…
why force children to cram their heads full of mostly useless info they find boring when they will forget the majority of it shortly after the test is over. What a complete and utter waste of time and consider how abusive this antiquated education method is. Give children the freedom to learn what they are passionate about and they will never lose the love of learning. I pulled my 11 year old twins out of the authoritarian and one-size-fits-all government institution and they are thriving now as self-directed learners. Why does the average child's education in the US cost over $15k? Most homeschoolers don't even see any of that or get any tax breaks. Teachers are paid only about 20% of that figure. Where does the rest of the money go? The government school monopolists cherish their test scores but why are they going down when spending per child is going up? Not only should there be equal rights for young people in any and all forms of education, the entire 200 year old current education system based on the Prussian model needs to be completely revamped and brought to the 21st century
I agree with this because…
after 30+ years of traditional teaching I have come to realize that true learning must be intrinsic, unhampered, and self-directed. Unfortunately, the skills needed to tackle the issues of our century (cooperation, responsibility, creativity, critical thinking) are systematically repressed by the old education paradigm. Only age-mixed, democratic, co-creative learning settings allow for the individual to discover him- or herself and help build the foundation for a sustainable, just society.
I agree with this because…
There is so much to learn in today's world and limiting it to the same few subjects each year doesn't make any sense. People dive deeply into what interests them, and that passion is different for everyone, which is how diverse skill sets are built. I learned so much that I was never even exposed to after compulsory education and I would have loved to have had the opportunity earlier. Educational freedom is kind and just makes sense. Restrictive education does not make sense.
I agree with this because…
Je suis d'accord avec cela parce que... quand on écoute la soif d'apprendre des enfants dès leur plus jeune âge, on observe que ces derniers désirent irrésistiblement s'approprier le monde qui les entoure et s'y intégrer: à leur façon et à leur rythme. Il n'y a qu'à voir les tout petits pour s'en convaincre. Être contraint d'apprendre ce qui ne nous intéresse pas ou d'une façon qui ne nous convient pas est une souffrance... souffrance inutile car ce que l'on apprend de cette façon n'est pas retenu durablement. Les enfants se développent beaucoup mieux lorsque les adultes se positionnent comme des accompagnateurs ouverts et structurants plutôt que comme des dresseurs autoritaires qui agissent de façon arbitraire. Ayons confiance en les enfants et soutenons-les, comme on le ferait pour n'importe quel autre humain qui nous sollicite et quel que soit son âge.
I agree with this because…
Je suis profondément d'accord avec cela car nous sommes des humains quelque soient les âges successifs qui font notre vie. Je suis le même humain que lorsque j'avais 7 ans et que je subissais ce qu'aucun humain de 30 ans n'aurait accepté de subir. Et aujourd'hui, à 56, je dis que oui, le respect, l'amour, la tendresse, la liberté d'être comme bon nous semble, de choisir nos propres activités en suivant nos préférences, sont des principes qui doivent être appliqués concrètement, en tous lieux et à tous les âges. Au delà de toute déclaration des droits humains, je suis d'accord avec ceci, car cela est indéniablement une base majeure pour la construction d'une société juste, composée de personnes heureuses. Cette société dont nous rêvons tous, construisons-la sur cette base fondamentale : Le consentement libre de l'humain à orienter sa propre vie.
I agree with this because…
kids are the most oppressed people in this world. I tried open doors for mine but they are too sadly small. Kids are openmind. We MUST, all of them, keep them free building a new world without these old rules based on power of only ones. I love this initiative. Big up. I hope it will become biggest all over the world. A french mother with a bad english ;-)
I agree with this because…
today I'm 50 years old and I still have to struggle to know where my true desires and my own dreams are. From school I remember most all the fears and anxiety, the pressure, the exhaustion.. Despite all this I fought, I succeeded, I graduated but I never found happiness and pleasure in my professional life.. just a constant lack of self confidence. And I don't feel at all it helped my to understand this world. In fact, I began to truly live and learn after I left school. Today, my 11-year old daughter is a homeschooler since two years and a half. Her special needs (dyslexia among others ) were never considered and taken care of at school and we can already see how school damaged her self confidence, her curiosity, her will to learn about something. She is so happy to be free.. but we still have to deal with inspections and programs that don't fit with her aspirations..
I agree with this because…
Je suis d'accord avec ça car j'aimerai que nos enfants soient libres. J'ai confiance que de leur liberté naîtrait une société beaucoup plus responsable, joyeuse et apaisée.
I agree with this because…
The current system promises encouragement but delivers coercion
I agree with this because…
it's almost impossible to stop young human beings learning deeply what they find important - but too many schools manage it somehow!! All that useless stuff memorised for tests and then forgotten nearly destroyed my love of learning - but not quite thank goodness. Let's create schools that give students time and space to explore and dig deeply into what fascinates them while learning to live with others in a democratic community.
I agree with this because…
I learnt very little in mainstream school that I use in my job now ! I always turned up for school, always tried my best but I struggled and there was no support, this was 30+ years ago. I had my confidence knocked a lot by teachers but luckily I knew my strengths were social skills and creativity and so have been a hairdresser for over 20 years. I love it and now run my own business. So many of my friends were more academic than me but never knew what they wanted to be and so drifted from job to job for a longtime before finding a job they really enjoyed ? I hear a lot of kids leave school much the same today ? By being able to choose what they want to learn and finding their strengths and working on their weaknesses, learners will feel empowered and work so much harder towards their goals and will leave school knowing their strengths and hopefully what sort of careers they would want ?
I agree with this because…
... Because current school system in OCDE countries needs to change and provide more freedom to children and youth in general. In the meantime, instead of trying to put children in a tiny broken mold, we should be more flexible about other forms of education and encourage parents (as I am) to help our children to live fulfilling lives for the sake of our global society.
I agree with this because…
Olson’s (2015) research revealed wounds from their schooldays in even the most distinguished of adults: wounds of creativity, compliance, numbness, underestimation and the average – generated by the insistence on unquestioning obedience to authority and the inculcation of an ingrained ability to tolerate boredom. Benchmarking children’s learning in terms of age, skills, and facts, generates unrealistic targets in terms of children’s personal capacity. Increasing research on the emotional milieu in classrooms shows that will and skill do not ensure successful outcomes. MacFadden (2005) found that even e-learning may generate dreariness, boredom, confusion, anger, frustration and feelings of isolation if only the cognitive dimension of learning is addressed since the whole brain is engaged in the learning process (MacFadden 2005).
I agree with this because…
Education is the future for our children. Education is free. Education is not teaching, it’s discovering, learning by doing, creating, fun, joyful, entertaining.
I agree with this because…
Demanding the right to live independently and in beautiful (just) interdependence for young people is a first step towards the abolition of the status of minor, and the consideration of children as actors in our world.
I agree with this because…
What more proof do we need that schools are useless. People graduatr and then start to learn about what is important about what they want to do. Why not give the opportunity to the yourh to determine their own learning ecperience.
I agree with this because…
Je suis d'accord avec ça car... je me sens énervé et stressé quand je suis obligé d'apprendre quelque chose qui ne m'intéresse pas. Et je me sens si enthousiaste, libre et plein d'énergie quand j'ai la possibilité d'apprendre ce que j'ai choisi. Victor 9 ans et demi.
I agree with this because…
I feel like children need more freedom, space and time to discover their own passions, interests and talents. The definition of education in the traditional sense is too narrow and does not take into account the vast breadth of human diversity in our world. The differences make us who we are - unique and special - and should be celebrated.
I agree with this because…
I agreed with this because there ist no alternative from a logical point of view. We teach children to say no to abuse. But who may judge where abuse starts? In a truely free and democratic society the individual may say no to ans situation where she won't infringe others' rights. Sometimes it's that simple but many do's and dont's from our own past stand in our way to recognize this.
I agree with this because…
Tout simplement parce que ce n'est pas en ingurgitant un enseignement que les personnes apprennent.. nous apprenons tous parfaitement ce qui nous intéresse, le reste nous l'oublions. Et chacun.e apprend à sa manière, or l'école est une industrialisation de l'apprentissage, et l'industrie fait de l'uniforme, du semblable et produit des objets qui ont tous la même fonction... je ne veux pas d'un monde où nous serions tous pareil et ferions les mêmes choses de la même façon. Nous avons besoin de créativité, celle-là même qui est absente des objets produits en série. C'est aussi une question de liberté et de lutte contre l'âgisme. Toute personne devrait avoir le droit d'apprendre ce qu'il/elle souhaite au moment ou il/elle le souhaite de la façon dont il/elle le souhaite et à son rythme. Les humain.e.s/ apprenant.e.s ne sont pas des objets/machines (même si c'est le rêve de certain.e.s).
I agree with this because…
... my daughter Aïwé is 2 years old, we are searching for a house to buy, and the other day I was talking with a friend about the house research, and he asked me : "and I guess you search depending on Aïwé's future school ?"... And I didn't know what to answer. Because the answer is : no. If she wants to go to school, she will. But, for her mother and for me, it is clear that there is no automatism in going to school. The "normal" thing for us is to give choice, but to try first what seems to us the less violent, which is spontaneous learning, with open family, friends, neighbours and other people involved in alternative education. My parents are now on leave but were teachers. And I was a "good" student. But I don't think school system as it is allows us to become free humans ; I think it was designed to prepare children to be obedient workers for capitalist objectives. Which is not compatible with freedom, love and care...
I agree with this because…
Je le constate chaque jour avec mes 3 enfants instruits en famille depuis 10 ans ;-)
I agree with this because…
chaque personne, quelque soit son âge, doit pouvoir librement disposer de son corps et de son cerveau, de son temps et de son énergie. because... ce n'est pas en forcant les jeunes personnes à suivre les rails éculés de leurs ainés que le monde pourra évoluer positivement. because... choix et liberté sont les conditions nécessaires d'apprentissages utiles
I agree with this because…
Je suis d'accord avec cela... Je le vois chez mes enfants. Quand l'apprentissage n'est pas choisi, cela entre par une oreille et ressort par l'autre ;-D plus ou moins rapidement. Alors que lorsqu'ils sont moteurs, qu'ils choisissent tout est plus simple, fluide...
I agree with this because…
we are not to supposed to be subjects to be controlled. yet that’s exactly what we learn in school. i had the chance to be in a college which didn’t apply grades and which mixed classes and students according to their “capacities”. i became “strong in the lowest math class” and could let go of my trauma of not fitting into an “ordinary math class” because it simply wasn’t my thing. i was loosing gallons of adrenalin filled sweat prior and during a math class. a horror trip subvention by ordinary school systems. today i homeschool our kids and can see how they each learn individually and develop different interests which they are free to follow. our occidental society needs to be “unschooled”. and children need to be understood, heard, respected and accompanied in their personal and individual needs and not just controlled and pressed into a system with brick walls and teachers (luckily human and good ones too) who are bound to this system of control under the guise of “western society”.
I agree with this because…
Quand j'étais à l'école je me suis parfois ennuyée avec des cours qui ne m'intéressaient pas, j'ai parfois été mal traitée verbalement par mes professeurs et j'ai vu des camardes mal traités physiquement. Au lycée, j'ai souffert physiquement, souvent je ne mangeais pas de 6h (heure de mon petit déjeuner) à 13h (heure du repas scolaire), j'étais fatiguée et je devais être attentive à des cours qui, encore, ne m'intéressaient pas. Ai-je consenti à tout cela ? Non. Pourtant j'étais mal avec tout cela. Mais on ne m'a pas laissé le choix et si je m'étais révoltée, rien n'aurait changé, j'aurai peut-être même été punie. Quand je suis allée à la fac et qu'on ne m'obligeait plus à assister aux cours, j'y allais, car ces cours me passionnaient et sans apprendre par coeur, je retenais tout ce qui y était dit. C'était il y a plus de 20 ans et je m'en souviens encore. C'est différent de "permettre de" et "d'obliger à". Si le souhait est l'accès pour tous à une forme de culture, permettez le pour tous, quelque soit l'âge, ne l'obligez pour personne.
I agree with this because…
moi j'ai eu cette chance qu'on ne m'ait pas imposé d'apprentissage, qu'on m'ait laissé faire mes choix. Je vous soutiens énormément. Lisa, 13 ans
I agree with this because…
It seems obvious to me that children should be treated like humans and be given a choice in how they spend their time. Our industrial era school factory model is hurting our youth. Traditional schools look and feel more like prisons than learning environments serving our children's needs, answering their curiosities, and enabling their florishing. It is time for a radical change in our education systems.
I agree with this because…
Because everyone should have the right to live and learn freely and self-directet.
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