In 1972 I entered Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., having transferred from the University of North Carolina. While UNC was and is a typical traditional college, Hampshire at the time was a year old and one of a crop of experimental institutions of higher education springing up around the country. Along with the rest of the student body, I was a guinea pig.
Nearly 20 years later, I personally can attest to the fact the experiment was a success. And according to a New York Times Magazine article, Hampshire is at the forefront of American educational reform.
When I first heard about the possibility that the University Elementary School might continue its development and move from the UCLA campus to Ocean Park, my instinct was one of wholehearted support because an obviously successful experiment was being allowed to flourish. When, as Hampshire College did, an institution goes from being an academic exercise to a fully functioning part of society, an enormously important step is taken.
Then my wife and I had a son. The possibility that he might participate, as I did, in a forward-thinking scholastic endeavor was exciting. The possibility that he might participate in such an experiment at the elementary level, and not wait until he is 17, was enough to restore my faith in the school systems of America.