The idea behind The New School is a great one, but unfortunately it is not put into practice well. Not only are there few rules at this school, but what few rules they do have are not enforced once broken.There is no safety at the school as the adults (what few there are) do not supervise students inside the building or outside. This school certainly is not preparing students for "real life," as the students who attend there are socially inept and unable to carry on a real conversation with adults. Furthermore, the "customer service" at the school is nonexistent- when they want your tuition money, they're all over you, but as soon as there's a problem, they go deadly quiet.
I was first enrolled at The New School when I was just nine years old and, after a great deal of personal, intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal growth, I received a diploma. This school is not only challenging, it is invigorating. Students of The New School foster a sincere appreciation and vigor for their education and life as a whole. While I had only a brief experience with traditional schooling as a child, I am currently excelling in college, utilizing that which I had learned from The New School. I can say honestly, in my 20 years, The New School is the only school, and one of the few communities, that I have ever known, where I have been wholly supported, intellectually stimulated and challenged, and instrumental in my own education and my life.
I attended The New School from the time I was 8 years old until I received a diploma. As is true of anything worth doing, it requires a great deal of those who approach it. But, the education attainable there surpasses any school of which I am aware.
I received a diploma from The New School, and found it to be an excellent place for an education. I was regularly challenged to improve in many ways, and although the challenge was often difficult, I stayed with it. I am extremely happy that I did. The staff members encouraged me to be a better person, not just to get better grades. As a woman in this modern age, I can see that this school is exactly what girls need to help them become strong, capable women as they face the challenges of growing up. Before I went to The New School I attended three different public schools. My classmates and I did not feel like we belonged. We could tell that we were thought of as no more than test scores. I saw people there engaging in activities that even an adult should blush to see. The teachers knew what was going on, but never helped the children, except academically. Children need the support and love of adults who are willing to stick their necks out and do what is right for the children rather than turn a blind eye. As I still go to the school on a regular basis, I see that this support is something The New School has to offer.
At The New School students investigate the subjects that are interesting them now! This allows for a more hands on and "brains on" approach. By approaching learning in this way, students are able to acquire and achieve proficiency in a subject far quicker than with current "traditional" methods that require students to be drug along at the pace of the least interested. While students are not actively pushed into a subject, the structure of the school requires that fundamentals be learned. One must learn how to read, write, calculate costs, research, and diplomatically and effectively argue a point in order to, for example, propose a field trip or other endeavor to the School Meeting. Students are helped, but not babied, when undertaking these challenges. Great emphasis is put on self discipline, interpersonal relationships, the meaning of language and the roots of words, and philosophy, resulting in an effective and intellectually agile person who is a "life long learner". As a diplomate of the school who is still in close contact, I can see that the fundamental philosophy of the school from which I benefited is on going and continues to be actively revitalized.
I received my diploma from the New School seven years ago. After that I sucessfully completed my undergraduate education and am doing well in my second year of law school. The New School emphasizes speaking and analysis; students are required to articulate their conclusions and their reasoning in discussion with teachers and other students. This promotes a clarity of speech and thinking that helps the student excel in academics later on. The New School promotes free and engaged learning. Students choose what they learn and form studies with the help of teachers. Students gradually become investigative and engaged in their education. When one student starts a new subject, other students will join in and expand their pursuits. The New School is a supportive and friendly community. Unlike a formal school day setting, there is not a wall of separation between students and teachers. Because students and teachers often engage in conversation the students tend to take on maturer habits.
Though some democratic free schools are successful, the New School is not one of them. Many of the staff members/teachers are more interested in guiding students toward their own rigid viewpoints, instead of letting the students explore their interests. This school does not prepare students for further education or to function in the real world, and I would not recommend it.