McCarthy on The Self-Directed Child

“Self direction is a key outcome of a Montessori education. How do we, as adults, facilitate it?” asks the Maria Montessori blog? Jesse McCarthy gives the answer.

From The Self-directed Child — Maria Montessori:

When I began teaching years ago, I had the view that I can change any child; overtime, however, through working with and alongside hundreds of unique students, I came to see that such a view is more accurately stated as any child can change himself. A subtle shift in phrasing, yet a fundamental distinction in pedagogy. This self-directed approach to education does not mean the teacher, the “guide,” is unnecessary. To the contrary, a thoughtful guide creates the content-rich, and often highly structured environment in which a child can thrive, but only through her own will. As Rachel’s story exemplifies – and as Maria Montessori spent her life both observing in children and demonstrating for adults – growth is impossible to achieve for another human being: “One must act for him or herself.”

Marva Collins: The World Loses an American Education Giant

From Marva Collins, Educator Who Aimed High for Poor, Black Students, Dies at 78 – The New York Times:

Marva Collins, a former substitute teacher whose success at educating poor black students in a private school she founded made her a candidate for secretary of education and the subject of a television movie, died on Wednesday in a hospice near her home in South Carolina. She was 78. […] After working as a substitute teacher for 14 years in Chicago public schools, Ms. Collins cashed in her $5,000 in pension savings and opened Westside Preparatory School in 1975. The school originally operated in the basement of a local college and then, to be free of red tape (the same reason she said she had refused federal funds), in the second floor of her home.

She began with four students, including her daughter, charging $80 a month in tuition. Enrollment at the school, on Chicago’s South Side, grew to more than 200, in classes from prekindergarten through eighth grade. It remained in operation for more than 30 years.

Ms. Collins set high academic standards, emphasized discipline and promoted a nurturing environment. She taught phonics, the Socratic method and the classics and, she insisted, never expected her students to fail.

“Kids don’t fail,” she once said. “Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures — they are the problem.”

At Westside Prep, she said in 2004 when she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, “there are no dropouts, no substitute teachers, and when teachers are absent, the students teach themselves.”

“We’re an anomaly in a world of negatives,” she added. “Our children are self-motivated, self-generating, self-propelled.”

An article about the school in 1977 in The Chicago Sun-Times attracted national attention, an interview on “60 Minutes” and the interest of filmmakers, who went on to produce “The Marva Collins Story,” a 1981 television movie on CBS with Cicely Tyson playing Ms. Collins and Morgan Freeman as her husband. […] As her stature as an educator grew, she began to train other teachers from around the country and published several books, including “ ‘Ordinary’ Children, Extraordinary Teachers” and “Marva Collins’ Way,” written with Civia Tamarkin. Speaking engagements followed.

In 1980, President-elect Ronald Reagan was said to be leaning toward choosing Ms. Collins for secretary of education, but she said she would reject the job if it were offered. By that time she had already turned down offers to run the public school systems in Chicago and Los Angeles. […]

She insisted that she never craved awards or publicity. All she wanted, she told The Island Packet, the local newspaper, in 2007, was “to be able to say I got an A-plus on the assignment God gave me.”

You can read some comments from past students at

OCON 2005 Lectures and Panels

This year’s Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina features and outstanding lineup of talks and lecturers, including the return of some of our favorite lecturers.

From Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 – Talks and Panels

  • C. Bradley Thompson: The Abolitionist Movement and Its Lessons for Today
  • John Allison: The Leadership Crisis and the Free-Market Cure
  • Andrew Bernstein: Objectivism versus Kantianism in The Fountainhead and Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs under Capitalism
  • Eric Daniels: From “Sputnik” to the Internet: Real Solutions for Reforming Science Education
  • Onkar Ghate: “Charlie Hebdo”, the West and the Need to Ridicule Religion
  • Peter Schwartz: Defining Basic Moral Concepts and Principles and Anti-Principles in Ethics (advanced talk)
  • George Selgin:Money Under Laissez-Faire andThe Destabilizing Consequences of Central Banking
  • Amesh Adalja: Infectious Diseases and National Security
  • Rituparna Basu: Understanding the Arguments for Universal Health Care
  • Michael S. Berliner: How Music Saved a Life: Ayn Rand and Operetta
  • John Dennis: Making Decisions in Context
  • Ray Girn: LePort Schools Information Session
  • Gena Gorlin: Battling Depression and Anxiety: Insights from Moral Philosophy and Clinical Science and The Science of Self-Control: What We Can (and Cannot) Learn from Contemporary Psychologists
  • Elan Journo: The Jihadist Movement and The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
  • Ryan Krause: In Defense of Monopolies: How Antitrust Criminalizes Business Strategy
  • Andrew Lewis: Magna Carta and Its 800-Year Legacy
  • Keith Lockitch:Climate Change and Ideology
  • Shoshana Milgram: Moral Self-Defense: How-To Advice from Ayn Rand and Filming “The Fountainhead”: Ayn Rand’s First Plan
  • Jean Moroney: Aligning Your Subconscious Values with Your Conscious Convictions and Fueling Achievement with Objectivist Values
  • Adam Mossoff: Life, Liberty and Intellectual Property: Why IP Rights Are Fundamental Property Rights
  • Gregory Salmieri:Epistemology and Justice in the Age of Social Media
  • Thomas Shoebotham:The Legacy of Beethoven,Schumann and Musical Poetry,Chopin, the Bel Canto Pianist,Mendelssohn: Classicizing Romanticism,Berlioz: The Symphony Reimagined, and Liszt and the Virtuoso Tradition
  • Steve Simpson: Free Speech Under Siege
  • Aaron Smith:Benevolence, Goodwill and the Rationally Selfish Life
  • Tara Smith: How Does Objectivity Apply to the Law? and Constitutionalism–the Backbone of Objective Law
  • Don Watkins: How to Think about Inequality

and the following panels…

  • ARI’s Accomplishments in Its First 30 Years
  • Financial Matters
  • Life Extension in Our Lifetimes
  • Running Topic-Specific Centers
  • Admiring Ayn Rand in Hollywood

University of Oklahoma Tolerates Violence But Not Unpopular Speech

Apparently the University of Oklahoma rewards violence against women with a suspension and unpopular speech with an expulsion.

From Oklahoma: Tough On Racism, Weak On Assault, Burglury | The Daily Caller:

University of Oklahoma president David Boren’s immediate expulsion of students involved with a recently-leaked racist video stands in sharp contrast to the lighter treatment the school has given to football players found responsible for violent crimes.

Just two days after a video leaked of Oklahoma students, mostly freshmen, singing a racist song on a bus, Boren took decisive action by summarily expelling two students he claims played a leading roll in the chant. The students, he said, had created a “hostile learning environment” for other students and had to be kicked out immediately, with no opportunity to reform. Boren has suggested that more expulsions could be on the way.

“There is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said.

From Oklahoma Stands Tall Against Racism, Weak Against Violence | FOX Sports:

Less than a month ago they allowed Joe Mixon, a talented running back videotaped punching a female student in an off-campus bar, back onto the football team after a year long suspension just from the football team. Yep, Mixon punched a female student and was never even kicked off campus. The punch was so violent that his female victim, a Sooner student, suffered a fractured jaw, a broken cheek bone, a broken nose and a fractured orbital bone near her left eye. Oh, and Mixon also began the incident, according to the complaint, by directing a gay slur at the woman’s male companion at the bar.

What did President David Boren say in that case?

“The judicial outcome and the video speak for themselves,” Oklahoma President David L. Boren said. “The University is an educational institution, which always sets high standards that we hope will be upheld by our students. We hope that our students will all learn from those standards, but at the same time, we believe in second chances so that our students can learn and grow from life’s experiences.” Boren said Mixon will be given a chance to “earn his way back on the team.” Oh, so the star running back gets a second chance for breaking four bones on a female student’s face on video, but the guys in a frat don’t get a second chance for saying something racist on a video?

Apparently, punching and breaking a women’s face while making a gay slur is better then saying ‘N’ word on campus at the University of Oklahoma.

The proper response should have been to not expel the racists but to educate the ignorant students on why racism is evil — and not to coddle violent thugs because they are “talented” football players who bring money and glory to the school.

CROSS: A college degree is not a mystical guarantee to a job

Comments Professor R. Garmong:

I don’t know whether this is real or not, but it represents a major flaw in discussions of higher education in America. People treat higher education as an end in itself, an intrinsic value, without regard to what values that education serves.

People throw around numbers about unemployed college graduates, often without looking at what their degrees were in. On the flip side, people advocate something called “higher education” or even “universal higher education,” without asking what will be studied and whether there’s economic need for it.

The common assumption is that a college degree should be a mystical guarantee of a job, like a grant of tenure from the universe. But that’s not how the world works.


I think fewer than half the people currently enrolled in higher education in America ought to be. I blame the GI Bill. What seemed like a good idea — make university education available to everyone — quickly made university education into a requirement for everyone.

I would add that the ideal of universal higher education enabled the failure of secondary education in America, by putting off the consequences. If the colleges and universities exist to provide a buffer, high schools can get away with graduating uneducated students.

DOLLAR: New Hampshire Supreme Court Upholds State’s School Choice Program

Concord, N.H.—Today the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court for Strafford County and saved the state’s tax-credit scholarship program. The program provides low-income families with education scholarships, which parents may use to send their children to a private school, a tuition-charging public school in a neighboring school district or to pay for homeschooling expenses. The plaintiffs were several state taxpayers who were philosophically opposed to the program. The court held that the plaintiffs lacked the necessary personal injury to challenge the program.

The scholarship money is raised by private scholarship organizations, who may offer local businesses a partial tax credit (85 percent) in exchange for their donations. Since a trial court found aspects of the program unconstitutional in June 2013, parents who wanted to use scholarships at private religious schools have been prevented from participating in the program. Now eligible families will be able to send their children to whatever school they choose.

“This is a great day for parental liberty in New Hampshire,” said Institute for Justice (IJ) Senior Attorney Dick Komer, who represented two families seeking scholarships and the Network for Educational Opportunity (NEO), the state’s only operational scholarship-granting organization. “We are delighted that the Supreme Court recognized that the trial court erred in allowing this case to proceed in the absence of any personal harm suffered by the plaintiffs from the alleged unconstitutionally of the program.”

Tim Keller, Komer’s co-counsel and managing attorney of IJ’s Arizona office, added: “This was a hard-fought battle and we are gratified that the parents have finally prevailed. The plaintiffs’ case and the Superior Court’s decision were based on a relic of anti-Catholic bigotry enshrined in the New Hampshire Constitution in 1877, which they extended beyond its intended scope. This is a victory for all who would live free in New Hampshire!”

The lawsuit was brought by eight taxpayers and a business, who claimed the program violated a provision of the constitution that prohibits the state from appropriating or applying state funds raised by taxation for “the use of the schools or institutions of any sect or denomination.”

IJ Attorney Erica Smith contrasted the lack of personal harm to the plaintiffs with the harm they caused last summer to the participating families, who because of the trial court’s ruling, were unable to use the scholarships: “Without showing, let alone asserting, any actual harm to themselves, these plaintiffs denied priceless educational opportunities to many New Hampshire families, solely because they do not approve of the schools these families had freely chosen. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has ended this infringement of the rights of the participating families.”

Kate Baker, executive director of NEO, said, “We at NEO are thrilled by the decision of the Supreme Court. We are eager to get to work awarding scholarships to low-income families without having to discriminate based on what sort of private school the parents want their children to attend.”

Shoplifting the Creator’s Spirit

“Mark Zuckerberg is a techie wiz who got lucky one day” — they say while using for free a remarkable achievement created by Zuckerberg (and his talented team).

This is the same parasitical mentality the pirates music and movies, that loots corporations to support third-world dungeons, that agitates for a “living wage,” that compels those who make money to pay for their “free” education, that credits God (but not the doctors) for a successful operation, that announces to the world: “You didn’t build that.”

What surprises me is the good people who remain silent in the face of such spiritual shoplifting. The formula is simple: If you want Creators in your midst, then defend them — give them the credits and rewards they have earned. — Voltaire Press

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