A Cry from the Heart of all Independent Schools & An Elite School Meltdown | Joel Backon | 12 Min Read

February 23, 2022

This story is not just about last Friday’s walkout at Choate Rosemary Hall, although it would have been Exhibit A in many of the articles we have run this year on the fraying fabric of independent schools: it’s a story of students fighting back against a childhood robbed of learning and joy in the name of rigor, of a curriculum expanded and expanded without careful consideration in the name of student choice and the marketing of that rigor, of confusing and divisive ideologies implemented without the capacity for understanding or acceptance, of mental health, of generational conflict among teachers, and of a broken governance model. It’s a story of independent schools across the nation. And unfortunately, it’s one we see as just beginning.

The heartwrenching story at Choate, unfolding at this very moment, is more than an elite school meltdown. It is an emotional cry from the heart of students, alums, and faculty at independent schools across the nation. It is also a dramatic outpouring of unity in the face of crisis across several different school constituencies, normally accustomed to respecting their boundaries.

On Sunday morning, I heard from an OESIS Network Leader on the West…

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Joel Backon

Joel Backon has been the Editor of Intrepid Ed News since its inception in January 2021, responsible for all educator content on the website. He joined the OESIS Network, owner of Intrepid, in 2019 as Vice President. Joel spent much of his career at Choate Rosemary Hall (CT) where for 27 years he held founding roles in Information and Academic Technology, as well as being a classroom teacher, curriculum designer, coach, dorm head, and student adviser. Prior to Choate, Joel spent 15 years in the printing and publishing industry educating printers on how to maximize their strengths and minimize weaknesses. He has crusaded to achieve consensus on the question of why we educate kids in an effort to meet the learning needs of every student.