Tom Durrie

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Tom Durrie (b. 1931) is a school critic, a nonagenarian giant, and a poster boy for longevity and vitality of a happy brain. His biography is rich beyond description, and reflects Durrie's infinite passion for life. His CV would suffice to fill in a few lifetimes and is the best testimony that a rich and productive life is a self-sustaining process. Inspired by A.S. Neill (Summerhill 1960), Durrie found his own formula for free learning. His passionate criticism of the school system started a neat 50 years ahead of my own awakening. Incredibly, Durrie's observations about school might predate those of Danny Greenberg who happens to be 3 years younger than Tom!

Durrie has tried teaching in traditional and in alternative schools (for a sum total of over a decade). He was also a headmaster of a free school for a while. In 1966, the analysis of his teaching experience provides a unique insight into the impact of freedom on behavior and mental health of students. His text, published 54 years late (2020), can be found here: "Free learning in a public school".

Durrie's three successful children received minimal schooling. None attended high school. Over decades of his analysis and interests, Durrie noticed cyclical processes, in which the school system tightens its grip on children and then enters a period of rebellion and seeking new solutions only to fall back again into its hungry propensity for limiting child freedoms.

Tom Durrie is an excellent example of how the human brain can retain all its best intellectual faculties into the nineties. In 2023, he has finished writing a book summarizing his argument for the elimination of school ("School and the End of Intelligence: The Erosion of Civilized Society")(Mar 2023).

A year later (2024), his new book is ready for publishing: "Making schools that are good for kids. Creating a democratic society".

Using Durrie as inspiration, all teens depressed with the school regimen should find comfort in the fact that they can still hope for 8+ decades of productive brain time. Durrie's formula is music, happy learning, and happy creativity.

Durries vibrant personality unfolds in his blog, Rants and Raves of Tom Durrie.

How can we expect people to participate in a democracy when they have spent their twelve most formative years under the influence of an authoritarian dictatorship known as school?

In March 2021, Tom agreed to contribute to End School Slavery. In January 2023, Tom expressed support for Student Spring 2023.

This text is part of: "Problem of Schooling" by Piotr Wozniak (2017-2024)