If we're going to claim the privilege of independence and charge a pretty penny, I think we're obliged to work to a very, very high standard.

This is not to say that the AP is perfect, or even to suggest that pretty good is good enough. Well trained teachers, given freedom and support, are clearly able to create truly exciting, demanding courses. We see this every day in the great work teachers do with students too young for AP classes.

At their most aspirational, independent schools are intentional communities based on defined values; these values are often pitched high.

Catching up with our public school counterparts, lots of independent schools talk about creating professional cultures, even professional learning communities or "communities of practice." It's about damn time, and mercifully little talk of "value-added" models.

I am confident that I am in a place whose kids aren't all that different from most of those at suburban high schools around the country. They do homework, play sports, hang out with friends, play video games--what kids do.

I am not alone in wishing that the public and independent school communities, sundered by history and economics, might better understand each other.


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