What is Human Restoration Project?
Human Restoration Project (HRP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit which aims to discuss and provide resources that illuminate, foster, and challenge traditional and progressive educational practices. It is of utmost importance that, when looking deeply into dense topics, we provide places for people to start (especially those who are not accustomed to a progressive view of education). Furthermore, it is paramount that we view progressive education not as a series of buzzwords or acronyms, but instead the bringing to light what we’ve all seemed to forget: our students, our educators - they are human beings. We intend to restore that lost humanity - having administrators, educators, and students remind themselves, and engage with, their purpose and dreams. HRP centers its work around four values statements. Each of these statements places systemic change at the forefront to create radically student-centered school systems. Each systemic structural change is outlined in detail in our Primer.
Who are you?
In short, we are a group of progressive educators seeking to change, the best we can, the schooling system via spreading our message, providing resources, and enabling teachers with our vision. HRP staff members are current educators or students. Overtime, we have gathered multiple contributors who share, bolster, and instill new thinking of progressive ideas.
What does Human Restoration Project do?
HRP focuses its attention on systems-based change in education through grassroots, teacher organized change. Despite decades of school reform (Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, A Nation at Risk), only 40% of students are engaged in high school and less than half of students feel their learning is relevant. And, despite our focus on improving math and reading scores - stressing about test results - the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists state we're "100 seconds from doomsday." Our priorities in education have moved away from the obvious answer: we’re all human beings, we need to treat each other accordingly.
Our work is based on three levels of changemaking: 1) informing about the need for progressive education; 2) guiding educators through materials and PD on how to implement this practice in their classroom; and 3) growing the movement through coalition building, networking, and grassroots advocacy.
What are you selling?
Nothing! Human Restoration Project is dedicated to releasing all of our materials for free. HRP hosts multiple podcasts, publishes articles, produces resources, and hosts virtual professional development sessions. We offer PD services, but it is not the primary focus of our work.
How are you funded?
We stay afloat due to our generous supporters. We’re committed to transparency; you can find our full financial statements released monthly on our Discord. We are actively seeking grants to further support educators.
Are your resources licensed?
Every resource we release is OER licensed under CC BY-NA-SA. You can freely modify and distribute our work non-commercially with accreditation. The best educational resources shouldn’t be gate-kept. Further, we make an effort to gather as many ideas and activities from similarly licensed properties, allowing us to act as a “hub” for quality progressive educational resources.
What is “progressive education”? What does it mean to "restore humanity"?
Some strategies that are commonly marketed to educators do not fix the underlying problems in the school system. Progressive practices are differentiated because they’re not about acronyms or buzzwords, but are based on research-backed educational ideas that have existed for centuries. Progressive education involves engaging each student in complex, rich experiences that go beyond simple tasks. It treats students and teachers as deep individuals with something to offer. And it recognizes that education is inherently political. Progressive educators want school systems to change from standardized, rote-based systems to those that care about the innate worth of every individual and their connection and contribution to the community. This assumes that every individual is treated with dignity and respected - that social justice is advocated for. However, there is nothing inherently “Democratic” or “liberal” about “progressive” education.
Who is your audience? Who should listen?
Our work is primarily aimed at K-College educators, including homeschoolers. We want to persuade traditional educators to our line of thought, and recognize, discuss with, and validate progressive thinkers. Of course, students and other professionals are welcome to engage as well.
Do you support public schools? What about "school choice"?
Human Restoration Project firmly stands with and supports public schooling and our organization is founded and operated by public school educators. It is imperative we build an education system that provides free, well-funded, equitable, and quality classrooms for all. We do not disparage other forms of schooling, but are skeptical of organizations that seek to profit off of student outcomes. Further, we support the idea of shrinking school sizes and developing "schools within schools", as proposed by Deborah Meier.
Who is an “HRP educator”?
An HRP educator seeks to revitalize her or his practice through systemic changes to the school system. Whether district wide or within their classroom, HRP educators seek to create equitable outcomes by revolutionizing their practice (often as a subversive activity.) Some examples of needed change include gradeless learning, authentic experiential education, and restorative justice. These changes are needed at all levels, K-College, and all systemic shifts require all other systemic changes. As in, if one pursues one element of progressive education, the rest fall in line. We've outlined a full list of systemic changes.
How do I submit an article? Are there any restrictions?
We openly welcome unsolicited articles and allow for cross-posting. Our goal is to promote progressive education to as many educators as possible. Therefore, if you are writing an article and want to showcase it to our audience (and it promotes our pedagogy), then reach out! Writers for HRP maintain full control of their work, and can request edits or removal of their article(s) at any point. HRP reserves the right to remove articles from its website. There is no explicit writing guide, although we encourage including (royalty free) images, storytelling, and research-backed ideas.
How do I appear on the podcast?
Although we appreciate requests to appear on our podcast, we rarely can accommodate unsolicited guests. We typically schedule podcasts months in advance based on our readings, current events, and audience interest.
Where can I learn more about HRP?
Our full Values Guide and overview of our organization can be found here.
Can anyone embrace "progressive education"?
No matter your circumstance, anyone can embrace progressive education even at the most traditional of schools. Everyday we hear amazing stories of educators implementing new human-centered systems in their districts. This comes with a caveat; you must be willing to take risks in the name of your students. If we know what's best, it's time to fight for it.