Vicki Cobb is an accomplished writer of nonfiction books for children. Here she describes her own education, the high points and the low points.

Her high point was her elementary school, a small private progressive school in New York City called The Little Red Schoolhouse. Actually, there used to be many public schools that worked like “Little Red,” as the school known, but the standardization movement has made such schools obsolete. If the federal government demands that all schools take the test, then all schools take the test. The question Cobb implicitly asks is why federal and state policy are killing the love of learning in search of higher test scores.

Here is Vicky Cobb’s description of the schooling she loved and that made her a lifelong learner:

I went to a school where there were no report cards. My parents received written and oral evaluations of my progress from my teachers twice a year. The emphasis was on experiential learning. When we studied colonial America, we made soap and candles in the classroom, we hunted for real Indian arrowheads in a city park, we read books, we sang songs from that time. I went to my first Mexican restaurant when we studied Mexico. I wrote stories and poems. One student, in sixth grade, started a class newspaper and I wrote and illustrated for it. We made puppets and put on shows. When we studied Native Americans we ground corn between rocks and built a teepee in the classroom (where every day two lucky kids got to stay during nap time out of sight from the teacher). My school, The Little Red School House, was a private progressive school in Greenwich Village, NYC still very much alive today. Their stated mission is to produce life-long learners.