Montessori Unity and Cooperation

A petition for Montessori Unity and Cooperation sponsored by Mark Powell can be found online, and while this petition specifically relates to the leadership of AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) and AMS (American Montessori Society) it contains a dream of Montessorians working together to change that world that piques my interest.

Please read the text and decide for yourself if you want to support this particular effort to heal the schisms in the Montessori movement.

The overview text of the petition is provided here

We believe that the emergence of a unified, focused, and politically proactive Montessori community in this time of educational crisis and social change in the United States should become the urgent priority of our largest and most visible national organizations, the American Montessori Society and the Association Montessori Internationale/USA.

The full petition is provided here

We, the co-signed teachers, parents and supporters of the Montessori community in the United States, are deeply saddened by the irony of the national educational calamity in which we find ourselves and America’s children at present.  While Montessori in the United States continues to have a devoted following among parents and educators after half a century of steady growth, we believe that this educational approach has fallen far short of its potential.  The best available figures suggest that Montessori schools account for approximately 1.5% of all K-12 schools nationally, an insignificant percentage in light of Dr. Montessori’s goal of reforming society by revolutionizing its education system.  Meanwhile, the mainstream U.S. education system continues to fail children even by the narrow standards of accountability it promotes–academic standardized testing.  Eight years of No Child Left Behind has seen the academic ranking of U.S. 15 year-olds continue to slide internationally, and high school dropout rates have reached alarming levels.  More widely, many chronic social problems in the United States have been connected to the disinterest and alienation of students in the traditional schooling system, both public and private.

We accept that the causes of this lack of penetration of the Montessori approach are complex.  However, we also believe that a significant part of the cause of this situation–the part that we can change–is due to the ongoing political and economic divisions within the Montessori community in the United States.  These divisions continue to undermine the credibility and deplete the energy and resources of the Montessori community, preventing it from projecting an effective, unified message to the general public, to educational researchers, and to our elected representatives and their delegates.  The most significant political division is between the two largest and most visible national Montessori associations, the American Montessori Society and the Association Montessori Internationale/USA.

In response to this unacceptable situation, we therefore respectfully demand that the leaderships of these two organizations begin regular and frequent discussions aimed at the achievement of three main goals:

1. the identification of a list of shared essential tenets about Montessori education;

2. an agreement to hold joint annual national conferences, which would allow members of each organization to mingle and exchange views on Montessori education; and

3. the implementation of an overt, jointly funded and operated national marketing strategy, including effective use of new digital media, that will bring the advantages of Montessori education to the greater attention of the general public, of educational researchers, and of government bureaucrats in federal, state and local departments of education.

We believe that the emergence of a unified, focused, and politically proactive Montessori community in this time of educational crisis and social change in the United States should become the urgent priority of our largest national organization.

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