Quaker Schools Transforming the World – Deborra Sines Pancoe and Elisabeth Torg
Quaker schools are important because we are trying to create a better society.… We start with the heart and … good teaching is an act of love.… In Quaker schools, we expect children to practice radical empathy. We focus on conflict resolution, restorative justice, and building and repairing relationships. A just society and a better world can’t be achieved just by passing laws. It has to be done, as Isabel Wilkerson says, one heart at a time.
—Brian Fahey, head of school, West Chester Friends School
Quaker schools have been educating with love and radical empathy for over 350 years, one heart at a time. Next to Quaker meetings, Friends schools are among the oldest Quaker institutions, with some of the first ones set up by George Fox in England in the mid 1600s. In America, Quaker education began in 1689 with the founding of William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and continues with the newest Friends school, International Friends School in Bellevue, Washington, in 2017. William Penn envisioned Friends schools as vehicles to create a better society. In the United States today there are 76 Friends schools in 21 states, with approximately 4,900 educators; 20,000 students; and an estimated 1,160 trustees or board members. That’s a lot of love!