Harry Pollard

[20 September, 2005]

I thought I would share our High School InterStudent Program with those interested in Georgist education. The Program takes a complete semester (80-90 hours) and is the economics requirement for graduation.

More than 1,000 students graduated from InterStudent this last year.

A veteran high school teacher said: "Don't do it. Let the little b------ suffer!"

Actually, they don't suffer. They enjoy it too much -- though they have to work harder than in any other class.

Each Cycle is handled over two weeks. It ends with a ferocious "Trivium Debate". During their class periods, they endure a variety of Tests, most not recognizable in ordinary High School context.

Including Jeopardy, where they are given an answer and they need to come up with a question. A question unobtainable from any of their material or textbooks. It has to come out of them.

They work in Groups competing savagely with each other. They are encouraged to cheat (they get a higher grade for a successful cheat). We tell them that they are now in a free system where they must take care of themselves.

Although cheating is one of the biggest problems in high schools (and colleges) there is almost no cheating in an InterStudent classroom.

Individual effort within a Group gets points for the Group. To this is added the right of "cutting" a useless recalcitrant from the Group. Simply, a student who doesn't contribute gets fired.

They usually complete two pages of the Cycles each period. As we know, students don't like doing homework. We are experimenting with giving them the two pages as homework.

Next morning when they come into class, they are immediately tested on the homework -- maybe 4 questions in a minute or so.

They are marked 1 pt, 5pts, 10 pts, 20 pts for a total of 36 points if they get all four correct.

If they miss one it will be the 20 pts that is lost. Three right gets them 16. Miss two and they can only get 6 points.

Group members who let down the Group by not doing their homework are likely to get a cool reception and may get cut from the Group.

Our latest ploy is directed at those who don't listen to their teacher droning away for 30 minutes. The teacher does a 5 minute talk on (say) the Law of Rent. Then immediately they are given a 1, 5, 10, and 20 Test on what he said.

Needless to say they pay attention during the five minute talk!

Let me know if you don't want these Cycles -- also let me have any additional names of those interested in Georgist teaching.