Community Schools

Tomorrow’s Public Education: Transformational Community Schools


John Loflin

John Harris Loflin is a life-long resident of Indianapolis and so a graduate of the Indianapolis Public Schools (#s 75, 28, 8 and Harry E. Wood High School). He was an education major at Purdue and has a graduate degree in alternative education from Indiana University’s nationally acclaim Alternative Schools Teacher Education Program. John became interested in non-traditional education in the early 70s after reading How Children Learn, Summerhill, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He’s taught at the middle school, high school, adult, and university levels. John has presented during conferences on 6 continents and is also published by alternative education and democratic education organizations, and other groups/individuals in South Korea, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada, and the US. He has consulted on learning alternatives with public schools in Mumbai, India; Seattle, WA; and, Indianapolis, IN. He was one of the few invited to the Leadership Summit at the 37th (2007) International Association for Learning Alternatives Conference in Philadelphia. In August 2007, he was on the opening panel of the World Education Forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He originated the concepts of "reinventing adolescence," Homo curaos, A Learner's Bill of Rights, and urban public free schools. While representing the Black & Latino Policy Institute as its Director of Education and Youth Issues, he had recommendations for student voice, alternative schools of choice, multiple assessments, and cognitive discipline policies added to Indiana’s 2008 Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services report. Loflin’s research was used by the National Alternative Education Association in a 2009 report, Exemplary Practices in Alternative Education--America’s first national standards for learning alternatives. Also in 2009, he was selected to present his concept: “Empowerment and leadership development through student participation in school-related decision-making” at the Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference at Indiana University. In early 2011, he was selected to present on, “Democratic Education and the African American Community” during the 2nd Democratic Education Symposium in Brooklyn, NY. Selected by Indiana State University’s (ISU) Annual Human Rights Day Committee, he presented his paper, “Self-Actualization, Democratic Education, and Hip Hop Culture: Their Relationship to Reducing the Aggressive Impulse” in April. That same spring, John was chosen one of 25 educators considered global experts to be a part of the Delphi Study designed by Eylem Korkmaz, (Yildiz Teknik University, Istanbul, Turkey) to create democratic education environments in conventional classroom. In July of 2011, he presented his paper, “Can democratic education be universalized?” at the 19th International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) in Devon, England. After returning from a spring 2012 20th IDEC in Puerto Rico where he presented to global and Latin American representatives his paper, “I think therefore I am vs. I am because we are: Learner centered education vs. Community centered education,” he authored “Local School Councils: Can democracy save the Indianapolis Public Schools?” for Indianapolis City-County Councillor Jose M. Evans. In 2013, John received one of the highest forms of validation when he was recognized by the Harry E. Wood High School Alumni Association with the Humanitarian Award and a place in the association’s Hall of Fame. Also, in the fall of 2013 the same paper he presented at ISU was chosen 1 of 150 papers selected out of 2,910 submitted from 106 nations was given by Jose Evans and him during the London International Conference on Education (LICE-2013). Asked by the organizers of the South African International Conference on Education to present the closing keynote address, John and Jose shared a new version of the B&LPI paper in Pretoria in mid-September of 2014. The paper, “They say that we are prone to violence, but it’s home sweet home”: The Praxis of Hip Hop, Self-Actualization, and Democratic Education for Addressing the Roots of Violence is published by the peer-reviewed International Journal on Cross-disciplinary Subject in Education. John is a member of Indy’s Education-Community Action Team, Parent Power, the Southeast Education Task Force and is the chair of the Southeast Working-Class Task Force. He consults the National Council on Educating Black Children and he is the “Education Guru” for the Operation Breadbasket Harambee WTLC radio show. Through his Democratic Education Consortium, he’s a part of the pro-democracy movement in Indiana’s public schools.