Speaking of Utopian educational systems, I read this morning about a project in a Massachusetts school in which eight public high school students were essentially allowed to take complete charge of their education. The New York Times article “Let Kids Rule the School” outlined this “Independent Project.” The students received some guidance from teachers when they asked for it, but were in charge of evaluating one another. There were no grades. The students asked questions–from the ambiguous to the pinpoint specific, and spent 2 semesters answering them. They used diverse sources to learn subjects like math and literature–applying probability to poker and reading more books in one semester than the standard AP English class reads in one year. The kids studied what interested them, and worked together rather than competing for grades. They formed friendships, gained knowledge that would last, made a movie to share their experience with the world, and blossomed in a way that goes beyond the possibilities of standardized tests and regimented curriculum. I was inspired by this article. I think that choice and individual motivation are extremely important factors to take into account in our public education system, and I hope that the “Independent Project” will become a template for progress.