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Education Without Permission

In our Q&A with reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, we asked “what does education without permission mean to you?” Check out 10 of our favorite answers:
“Education without permission means going out there and doing something, even if no one has paved the way or done it before you. You don’t have to follow others footsteps. Don’t wait to get permission or acceptance, the time is now.”
-Mal
“The power of collaboration is limitless. Learning extends more beyond the four walls that contain a classroom.”
-Jon Nakano
“Education ‘without permission’ means thinking on my own, being innovative, and believing my knowledge, passion, and experience will teach my students to do them same and achieve goals no one ever thought they could.”
-Patty
“When I heard the phrase ‘Education Without Permission,’ I thought of the struggles that my students face each day. They face obstacles like lack of supplies, lack of funding for their school, lack of support beyond the classroom, and not being proficient in English. I teach in an urban district, at a school with 75% of the students primarily speaking a language other than English. I have students who speak Spanish, Nepali, Thai, Burmese, Sudanese, Somali, and many more.
Despite all of these obstacles that could easily discourage my students, they are persistent and excited about learning everyday. They see every opportunity to learn and take them all. They often go beyond my expectations and surprise me with their effort. Even though there are so many things working against them, my students learn without the permission of all of those circumstances.”
-Connie
“Without Their Permission says to me that students don’t need to wait for a teacher to ‘teach’ them something. They can learn anything they want to – on their own. Newton developed Calculus on his own while the university was shut down. Be empowered. Find something you love and want to learn and learn it. Carpe Diem!
-Paula
“Empowerment. It’s reclaiming responsibility for the most crucial part of your identity and potential …your own education, and giving you the courage and fire to give yourself what you deserve.”
-Jane

“The keys to the world may actually be located on keyboards. Education ‘without their permission’ is exemplified by students advocating for their education and sustainably seeking knowledge on the net.”
-Vincent Amendolare
Don’t wait on others to do it for you. Go forward and do what you love!
-Marysue Traxler
“Without Their Permission is a loaded phrase. It means to pursue what fulfills you, which often means taking the long-view to making your goals a reality. It implies that you should learn what will get you further, and what lights a fire from within. But most of all, it suggests that the time is now. You’ll get no “permission” or “approval” to pursue your dreams. Make it happen, and start working toward it today.”
-Nick Nish
“Seven years ago my students invited our superintendent and chief finance officer of our school district to meet and discuss a civic education project they had been working on. My students were advocating for a running track to be built at our aging school. My students had learned that our school had $80,000 in categorically restricted funds which could not be used.
My students met with a lobbyist, conferred with a state senator and assembly member. Spoke with a senate budget analyst in preparation for this meeting. They’d learned our district had the power to ‘trade’ categorical for non-categorical funds. When our district officials met with my students, they were amazed by the professionalism of my 5th graders. At the conclusion of the meeting, my students were told it wasn’t wise to trade restricted for non-restricted funds. They denied the request to trade funds. My students reflected, regrouped, and sent a polite email announcing their intention to present their plan and findings to the school board. Upon hearing this, my students’ request was approved and told there was no need to go to the board. My students then pointed out that 16 other old elementary schools didn’t have tracks and that these schools were serving mostly low socioeconomic kids. Shouldn’t they have running tracks, too?
The end result: my students lobbied for and caused 17 running tracks to be built at 17 schools for a total of almost $2 million. They didn’t ask for others to fix a problem. They found a solution which couldn’t morally or logically be refused. They engineered their own success. THAT is education without asking permission.”
-Jim Bentley

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