leave school what teachers can't tell you
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So excited to announce that my new audiobook app, ‘LEAVE SCHOOL: what teachers can’t tell you’, is finally available!  LEAVE SCHOOL helps teens who are frustrated by school to thrive without school by pursuing self-directed learning.  Get it at LEAVE-SCHOOL.com

There are so many people to thank for supporting me in creating this project.  Though I am the author and the voice you’ve been listening to for hours, please don’t get the impression that this was all my doing.  So many others have contributed and deserve to share in the credit.


  • Ellen Loucks for editing the first draft of this book, but even moreso, for believing in herself. This sounds strange, but Ellen inspired me so much when she published her first novel as a teen.  That gave me a lot of confidence that I could write a book as well.
  • Dylan Marcus for giving me feedback on the second draft of the book. Dylan was in a unique position that he went to public school, and unschooled, and now attends a Sudbury School, which made him a perfect candidate to help with this.
  • Rick Puglielli for allowing me to use his recording studio and helping me get all the recording settings correct and fine tuned. It was such a relief to allow me to relax and focus on reading and not be worrying about all the technical aspects of the recording process.
  • Another thanks to all the people whose writing inspired my own voice: Akilah Richards, Blake Boles, Gina Riley, Grace Llewellyn, John Taylor Gatto, Ken Danford, and Peter Gray. A special statement of gratitude is in order for Grace Llewellyn and Blake Boles, who have specifically focused on writing directly for teens.
  • Dave Rollins for mentoring me on web development in making Open Source High, the Peer Unschooling Network, and especially this audio book app. Conversations with Dave about how to transform education have been deeply enriching and a great pleasure.
  • So many of the mentors who’ve supported me through the Valley Venture Mentors. This includes: Scott Reed, who was my first mentor at VVM to take an interest in this work, Paul Silva for being an endless resource for introductions and encouragement, Rick Plaut for challenging me to create something that people actually want, Jay Leonard for also pushing me to develop a model that would sustain this work, Jane Janovsky for guiding me through the last few months of developing this particular book, Jim Geisman for helping me navigate the pricing of this app,  Angela Lussier for first suggesting I start writing a blog to begin developing my writing voice, Bill Cole for helping me navigate some personal challenges through this journey, and the countless other VVM members who have supported me over the years.
  • Parag Karkhanis who really challenged me and supported me in dealing with a lot of the fears I mentioned earlier in this book.
  • Rohit Shukla, who has been a great mentor and sounding board since I first became an entrepreneur over 10 years ago.
  • Marylyn Wentworth for the many hours of discussion about education, passing on so much wisdom to me, and even allowing me to stay with her and her husband at their home in Maine on many occasions as well as inviting me to Peru for their school’s international intensive excursion.
  • All the teens who participated in Open Source High. For those of you who really bought into the vision of creating a platform of student-made content, I hope I haven’t let you down by taking a break from the project.
  • All the teens who are members of the Peer Unschooling Network. I apologize that I haven’t been putting as much time into developing the site lately as I once did.  I hope that creating this book was a wise decision to help boost our community.
  • Asa Nelson, the first person who ever read my writing and said it was “well-written”. I really assumed I was a horrible writer and was depending on the fact that the ideas in this book are important enough and good enough to over-compensate for my poor technique.  It was a great compliment to have someone say the writing itself was good and gave me confidence I wasn’t embarrassing myself.
  • Cassidy Younghans for helping to edit, and also giving me a confidence boost by reassuring me that this book was actually worth publishing.
  • The International Association for Co-Learning Communities, for welcoming me to present these ideas multiple times at their monthly meetups/gatherings
  • The Alliance for Self-Directed Education and the Alternative Education Resource Organization for both supporting my efforts to promote and advocate for self-directed learning.
  • Thanks to all the learning centers that welcomed me over the past few years as a visitor. Also thanks to all the teachers at conventional schools who welcomed me in to speak to their students about Open Source High.
  • Thanks to all the people who organized unschooling conferences to spread these ideas to the world and facilitate connections and community. A special thanks to Lainie Liberti and Miro Siegel who run Project World School for inviting me to be their emcee at their Family Summits and to Grace Llewellyn for inviting me to work at Not Back to School Camp. Also thanks to Anne Boie for being so welcoming to me at the Life Without Instructions Conference.
  • Thanks to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Educational Studies Program program for allowing me to teach this controversial subject of creating your own learning center at both their Splash and Spark events. I am grateful for their welcoming me and creating an open forum for volunteers to teach anything they want, and setting an example for what consensual learning can look like.
  • The activists in the psychiatric survivor / ex-mental patient movement who have inspired me so much to fight for social change, including people like Sarah Smith, David Oaks, Emily Cutler, Ron Bassman, Rebecca Edens, and Celia Brown.
  • Thanks to Adam Zhang for everything he’s taught me about making videos.
  • Thanks to Tom Dwan for being the first overachieving friend of mine who had the courage to deviate from the norm and pursue a non-conventional self-directed path.
  • Thanks to Kyle Ferguson for being the first friend of mine who became an activist, setting a real powerful example of stepping up and speaking out to make change in the world.
  • Jerry Berlin who was the first person to tell me that my ideas for allowing young people to direct their own education weren’t crazy. That reassurance was really important in the earliest phases of this work to make me feel like I wasn’t out of my mind.
  • Thanks to Steven Muganwa for building the app and to Tasos Kostopoulos for mastering all the audio.
  • Thanks to all my former students at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. I am sorry if I let you down by leaving as a teacher.  I think of you all often, and hope you are all doing well.
  • Thanks to all my best teachers from my K-12 schooling, who proved that even with the best teachers, the system itself still sucks. That may sound like a knock, but I am truly grateful for all of the wonderful individuals I was fortunate to have as teachers.
  • Thanks to my lovely girlfriend, Sherri Huang, for many things, but most of all, for believing in me. Sounds silly, but this is so important in a world where we’re constantly told we’re not good enough.  Especially for someone like myself who has been labelled as psychotic and whose ambitious ideas have been labelled as delusional.  A special thanks to her for patiently allowing me to ramble on and on about this project and putting up with me being stressed out about it, especially as it nears completion…. And for being sharp enough to follow all these nuanced ideas and debate and discuss and challenge my mind to think deeper about all these ideas and for helping to brainstorm new ideas for how to influence social change.
  • Thanks to my sister for always setting the example of valuing people over things.
  • Thanks to my brother for setting the example of speaking out against authority.
  • Thanks to my brother in-law for setting the example of building a career and business as being a marathon, and not a sprint.
  • Thanks to my nieces and nephews for helping to keep me in touch with the youth of today
  • Thanks to my parents for never getting in the way of my pursuit of self-directed learning and all these projects I get involved in. Also for conceiving me, changing my diapers, putting a roof over my head, and giving me the luxury of never wondering if there would be food on the table each night.
  • Finally, thank you to the reader/listener, I hope you are out there.
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