International Democratic Education Conference
The 14th International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) was held this past July in Sydney, Australia. 250-300 people from 15 countries attended. The event is relevant to today’s debate on education because governments, including Australia, are dealing with the issue of how to prevent students from disengaging, IDEC contributes positively by highlighting models that have successfully put students at the center of the learning process.
Alternative education and democratic education share the same foundations: individual choice--staff and students voluntarily attend; customized learning based on students' needs, strengths, and interests; staff/student shared decision-making in a democratic climate; close relationships between staff and students in a community atmosphere; alternative assessments; and, community service for authentic learning, social change, and civic engagement.
This thorough report of the conference and related backgrounding by John Loflin tells why hip hop, alternative generation, and working class youth around the world reject traditional public schools and what to do about it . The report also discusses issues associated with student voice vs. student action, traditional vs. sustainable education, one-size-fits-all vs. self-actualization, colonizing vs. transformative education, students serving the community vs. students changing the community, democracy as self-managed learning, the potential of democratic public classrooms and schools, and the new concept of public urban free schools.
This excellent report reflects IALA's continuing leadership in bringing learning alternatives to a global audience of students, families, and educators.