In 1971, Robert Ferris helped start The New Orleans Free School, which became a radically alternative public school promoting individual learning and grade-less classes. He taught seventh and eighth grade and participated in communal governance of the school until the school system bureaucracy engaged the school in a bitter fight to take over leadership, a struggle that ended with Bob being appointed principal in 1982.
This was a precursor to a human flood of conflicts in which the bureaucracy attempted to drown the Free School over issues about staff, size of enrollment, educational practices, teachers, building conditions, neglect of duty, and location of school. Bob concludes this book with passionate and well-informed arguments about educational issues confounding our country, including charter schools, the achievement gap, high-stakes testing, poverty, fair and equitable spending, early childhood education, and quality education.
This book comes paired with a documentary created by Mika Ferris about The New Orleans Free School.