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The Necessity of Freedom in Education

The Necessity of Freedom in Education

Written by Bryan Ripley Crandall
March 27, 2013

I post this to the NWP community to share news of a Silver Key award given from Scholastic on a series of photographs called “The Writer’s Notebook” (click the link to view) (or copy & paste: Accompanying William Kolb’s photographs was an artist statement explaining the importance of handing a blank notebook to a child. With state tests limiting the writing instruction in today’s schools (countering such freedom), I wanted to share his work with the national community. His statement, “I very clearly remember my first ever writer’s notebook. And I’ll never forget it either,” is something all of us might appreciate during the cold days of January.

I received word today from this young man that several of his photographs were selected for Gold and Silver Keys from the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers and Scholastic competition. When I left my high school teaching post, he was entering middle school (the Brown was a K-12 environment that should be replicated across the nation). My memories of teaching in Kentucky are rich, especially with the emphasis on creativity, voice, and perspective to nurture young writers through a portfolio accountability system. The investment of the Louisville Writing Project and the Kentucky Writing Project on teachers (including his mother, Susan Kolb) quickly spread to our K-12 alignment of writing at the school. It was pedagogical utopia.

The Last First Day (Click picture to see more.)

I’m thankful to Facebook that William and I have been able to continue to learn from one another. The award winner is now a senior at the J. Graham Brown School in Louisville, Kentucky, where I used to teach.

He concludes, “The goal of this portfolio is not only to illustrate my own experiences but to educate others about the necessity of freedom in education.”

I think we all might applaud this, especially as we trust our young writers to go free. Writing IS an art.

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