USD, Children's School, Grauer School Host Alfie Kohn

Our knowledge about how children learn, and how schools can help, has come a long way in the last few decades. Unfortunately, most schools have not. In his January 12 lecture The Schools Our Children Deserve, to be given at the Shiley Theatre on the University of San Diego campus, Alfie Kohn challenges traditional educational norms, including fierce competition, reward incentives, standardized testing, excessive homework, and grading systems. He will share research-based alternatives to these practices and discuss models of education designed to develop children’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Kohn, a renowned Boston-based expert on education, human behavior and parenting, is the author of twelve books, including several books leveraging social science research on the topic of education. His most recent work, Feel Bad Education, establishes the notion that the current U.S. educational system robs students’ learning of both meaning and pleasure. He has been featured in print publications such as Time magazine and the Washington Post, along with guest appearances on the “Today” show as well as “Oprah.”

Kohn’s visit to San Diego is the result of a collaboration among three area schools: The Grauer School in Encinitas, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego, and The Children's School in La Jolla.

According to Grauer School Advancement Director, Chela Gonzalez, “We’re honored to participate in bringing Alfie Kohn to San Diego to share his philosophy on education, which is very much in keeping with The Grauer School’s mission and philosophy. This approach has provided our students with a balanced education, enabling the school to provide the pathway to top colleges available.”

Brian Oliphant, Head of School at The Children’s School, says, “For forty years, The Children’s School has been offering a deeply engaging, progressive, project-based education for students from toddlers through eighth grade. Having Alfie Kohn come to San Diego is a tremendous opportunity to share the merits of this methodology, which we believe is the optimal model for education.”

Dr. Helene Mandell, USD SOLES Director of Field Experiences, asserts that “Progressive education has been proven by years of research to be an effective means of teaching students to think critically, to understand material thoroughly and personally, and to have great potential for success in higher education and in life. Our program embraces this model and we are delighted to bring Alfie Kohn to San Diego to endorse its efficacy and importance.”

The University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), The Grauer School in Encinitas, and The Children’s School in La Jolla are co-hosting, “An Evening with Alfie Kohn” on Thursday, January 12, 2012 beginning at 7:00 pm at the Shiley Theatre on the campus of the University of San Diego. An optional reception and book signing precedes the lecture at 5:30 p.m. Tickets to the event are $10.00 per person and space is limited.  For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (760) 944-6777.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.