The Chicago public school teachers' union strike is still ongoing, so I can only assume the agorism and community cooperation described in this article remain accurate or have even expanded:
In the wee hours Sunday, she [Sarah Liebman] worked the phones to figure out somewhere her 4-year-old son could spend the next day while she and her husband went to work. Ultimately, she arranged for her youngest to be with his best friend, similar to what the family earlier had set up for their oldest child, in sixth grade.
Ahead of the strike, the Chicago Public Schools crafted a plan -- one criticized sharply by union leaders -- trying to give parents like Liebman options until teachers return to work.
The city's famed public transit system is offering free rides for students to move between so-called "safe haven" sites.
Chicago's parks department resumed camp-style sports, art and nature programs at dozens of its locations, while the public library system set aside computers in its facilities for students to use. Cotto said she sent her daughter to one such library to get books to read, in hopes the high school sophomore doesn't "miss an educational beat."
A group of parents in one city neighborhood banded together, hiring a former teacher to instruct about a dozen children. Their makeshift class commenced around 9 a.m. Monday in the basement of one of their homes.
Dozens of churches and civic organizations offered activities to children Monday, hoping to give parents' options by keeping their kids off the streets. So, too, did about a quarter of the city schools, although they only had skeletal staffs and limited resources.
Understandably, the parents are, as the article details, largely unable and unprepared to deal with a lack of a place for their children to go all day and unsure how to keep their children engaged in learning without a school to go to. For instance, one parent is quoted as saying, "It's disruptive because we don't know what the curriculum requires. We are sort of guessing. We want to keep their minds active and keep them engaged in something."
Well, first of all, how did you deal with a lack of school all summer? But more importantly, I hope this teachers' strike teaches the parents and, especially, the children a valuable lesson: schooling is not synonymous with education, and they don't need a rigid, formalized, uniform school experience to become educated. Far superior to our inflexible, bureaucratic, conformist, largely state- and county-controlled school systems would be a dynamic, variable, individual-, family-, and community-driven education paradigm—rather, a virtually endless and ever-changing series of such systems—in which creative thinking, individuality, self-realization, self-motivation, and a love of learning are fostered according to each child's needs, desires, skills, and interests.
Such a de-centralized, anarchistic educational paradigm would present many challenges of its own, but it would quickly and easily eliminate the value of conformity and submission to authority that students are inculcated with, the feeling that learning is an obligation to be suffered through, the years of forced association with bullies and the apparent inability or unwillingness of schools to do much about them, the one-size-fits-all curricula and requirements and standards and all the failures associated with them, the immense amount of wasted time both in school and on hours of homework each night, and, most important of all, the notion that someone else is responsible for the child's education. I think that the more involved children are in their own education and the more responsibility they gain over the years, the more educated, mature, responsible, fair-minded adults they will become.
Those parents who sent their children to libraries, museums, camps, or skeleton-staffed schools to make sure their children "don't miss a beat" are a microcosm of what is right and wrong about this whole situation. The fact that they are doing right for their children now is only highlighted because of how wrong they have been to dump them off at public schools and rely on school boards' curricula all these years. Again, how many "beats" were the children missing during summer break? Do they think they only need to provide these opportunities for their children/require them to learn things when their city/county/state says school is/should be in session? If children hadn't been exposed to this government-school paradigm all their lives (for which their parents are surely equally to blame as the school systems and teachers), would it make sense to the children that they should only learn 9 months a year, only when in a classroom or ordered to by someone else, and only what they are required to? No, I rather think that if children were exposed to the concept of education as it should be—self-driven, voluntary, cooperative, desirable, enriching, beneficial to them as individuals, glorious and wondrous and full of mystery and self-discovery—they would learn far more and far better than they do in rigid, bureaucratized, politicized government schools.