Here is an excerpt from an interview with Susan Ohanian and Home Education Magazine
What is your view of compulsory attendance? Has that view changed since the Standardista-movement took hold?
Ohanian: Throughout my career, I was a teacher who sought out every student listed on my rolls. Since I always taught 'difficult' students, there were always several who didn't show up. I pestered truant officers into tracking them down, because I wanted to prove to kids that school could be a positive place. I like to think I did prove this.
The current abusive curriculum mandates have caused me to make a 180-degree turn. Philadelphia psychiatrist Robert Kay, who is opposed to compulsory attendance, and I have reached a compromise position: compel kids to come to the schoolyard. Then it's up to the teachers to offer an enticing enough experience that will get the kids through the door. I am a staunch supporter of public schools and the good they do; but with aching heart, there's no way I would compel kids to subject themselves to the test prep mania and the standards driven curricula that currently infect our schools.If educators resign themselves to being nothing more than agents of the state for delivering top-down mandated, prefabricated, content-bloated, scripted curriculums then it makes sense to do whatever it takes to manipulate, bribe, threaten, bully, harass kids into doing whatever it is we want them to do. If this is our perspective, then as long as the kids do what we want, even begrudgingly, we consider compliance our mandate.
...if educators see their responsibility as engaging every learner in a personalized journey in discovering and constructing their passion, we come to see authentic engagement as infinitely more important than compliance.
Ultimately the best educators come to see school not as something done to kids, but something done by them and with them.