Concerned modern parents open a school
The concerned modern person… This expression came into our lives as a definition but recently it has been used to “underestimate” this segment. It is said that these concerned modern people would “always complain, express their issues and suggest solutions but never shoulder responsibility.”
The top issue these concerned modern people who have children in the 3-6 age group are discussing is education. They are concerned about the constant change in the education system, the poor quality and the extreme commercialization of private schools, as well as small kids competing in central exams. The importance of preschool is now accepted.
Some 40 concerned modern parents gathered in Istanbul and decided to take responsibility. They formed a cooperative, believing in the democratic and egalitarian system, independent of ideologies, suggested by the “Başka Bir Okul Mümküm Derneği” (Another School is Possible Association). They have formed the BOM Istanbul Anatolia Cooperative. They have rented a building in the Moda district of Istanbul on Moda Emin Onat Street. They are trying to renovate the building, working hard to meet the deadline in September. They have completed their selection of a principal; they are interviewing teachers.
After I first wrote about this subject, many readers approached this model enthusiastically; there were a couple of others who said, “This is a utopia.”
Do not worry, the parents are all down-to-earth people. They do not want their children to feel like a fish out of water when they start elementary school. However, the parents reject the current widespread stance adopted by many preschools offering “when your child completes the program in our school he/she will be speaking this many words of English. She will be dancing or doing ballet beautifully.” They do not want to raise “project kids” with their own hands. They want their children to develop their thinking, questioning and self-learning skills. Only by gaining these skills, they believe, can their children not be lost when their paths cross the mundaneness of the state system or the commercial order of private schools.
There is one kindergarten and two primary schools functioning in İzmir, Ankara and Bodrum under the Another School is Possible cooperative model. Thanks to the cooperative model, the association is able to focus on enabling educators in the schools to raise kids who will be able to develop their learning skills. They are also conducting the Another Teacher is Possible project. The parents are in charge of the financing, maintenance and daily functioning of the schools. For a child to be enrolled in kindergarten, one of the parents should be a member of the cooperative. The Istanbul Anatolian Cooperative organizes meet-and-greets to explain to parents what they are and what they are not. The next meeting is on June 26 at Moda Sahnesi.
After becoming a member, both parents can attend executive committee meetings. There is no central administration. Attendance is optional but this way they are trying to prevent a three-five person central structure from making decisions for everybody. Also, they have quotas for scholarships. At the new school in Moda Istanbul, 15 scholarships will be granted to 15 children. They are looking for sponsors.
It is not businesspeople or top managers we are talking about. These parents are not poor but they are not upper-middle either. They are trying to, in the ever-toughening economic conditions of Istanbul, join forces to make alternative education possible.
Thus, they need supporters to be able to give scholarships. This is a call for any institution, company or individual wishing to support… let them also have a hand in this…