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When High School Means a Build-It-Yourself Education

Jon Bullock was the principal of Redmond High School, in Redmond, Oregon, when he sat down at his kitchen table with colleagues eight years ago to hatch the beginning of an idea for what would become Redmond Proficiency Academy.

Bullock was a product of public schools and a strong believer in them. They had worked for him. But, Bullock continued, with obvious discomfort at saying it, despite his belief in public schools and admiration for the people who pour their efforts into them, he had come to believe they are not designed for all children. In 10 years of public school teaching and administration, he explained, he had seen a model of education in which swaths of students were not thriving.