November 28, 1990

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Vol. 10, Issue 13
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Schools in urban areas have been criticized, stigmatized, scrutinized, and politicized. And in each case, the group that has borne the disproportionate burden of the schools' dysfunction is African-American males.
Paradoxically, while we in American public education wallow in bureaucracy, in Eastern Europe, where restriction has been the norm, the free-market concept is already being applied to education. "High" on new freedoms, Eastern Europeans are seeking school models that bolster and safeguard those freedoms. And in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Soviet Union, a model of choice is Waldorf education, a system founded 70 years ago in Europe that is proliferating here in America as well as in other parts of the world.
I was only a spectator this fall when the Public Television Service aired its two-hour documentary, "Learning in America: Schools That Work." But I had, while watching it, that special sense of pleasure any author feels when he learns his work has made a difference. The Micro-Society School of Lowell, Mass., was one of four schools profiled on the show. Roger Mudd, the host, called it "the only school of its kind in the world."
The future of our country depends very much on schools' teaching children today that they can be the rejuvenating forces of tomorrow. Learning this lesson is all too peripheral to the agendas of most schools. But it is a lesson that can be taught--and is being taught in seven schools in New York City and Florida that have adopted a new design for learning.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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