nikhil goyal

nikhil goyal 3 bw



Some call free or democratic schools and unschooling “radical?” No, what they’re doing is normal. Those children are learning in the same way human brings have learned for thousands of years before compulsory schooling was invented -— through free play and self-directed learning. What traditional schools are doing is radical. Their students are learning in environments designed completely opposite to how the brain operates and in ones that squelch talents and abilities.     – Nikhil


I don’t expect my writing to change the way schools operate. 

But what I do hope is that you will begin questioning some of your assumptions and perhaps, if you are a parent, next time your child comes home from school stressed about their tests or classes to the point of tears, feeling like a failure, emotionally damaged from shame, bullying, or harassment from students or teachers, telling you about how much they hate learning, or just begging you not to force him or her to go back the next day, you won’t think he or she is crazy.

You’ll listen to them.

And you might think twice about putting them in a system that is one of the most oppressive and soul crushing of modern times and in the words of educator John Holt, “a crime against the human mind and spirit.”

– Nikhil


In the words of the great Thomas Paine, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

Original Tweet:

yes.. let’s

as it could be


july 2018 fb share (very cool)

Thrilled to announce that I’ll be an adjunct professor at New York University’s Prison Education Program this fall.

I’ll be teaching a Sociology of Education course at Wallkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York, fulfilling a dream I’ve long held. My students will be working towards an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from NYU.

I’m hoping to play a tiny role in reimagining prisons as sites of critical pedagogy, of justice, of liberation.


schools on trial

april 2015:

It’s official: My book titled “Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Democracy Can Correct Our Educational Malpractice” will be published by Doubleday/Random House on February 16th, 2016!

oct 2015:

schools on trial nikhil


blurb about new book from Gatto.. nice.

The renowned JOHN TAYLOR GATTO has blurbed my forthcoming book SCHOOLS ON TRIAL (!!

Original Tweet:

gatto blurb for nikhil


dec 2015

SIR KEN ROBINSON endorses my forthcoming book SCHOOLS ON TRIAL!!


from Nikhil:

. . . And perhaps my favorite blurb is from the great progressive educator and thinker Deborah Meier:

“I began by arguing with Nikhil Goyal (one of my favorite occupations), but by the third chapter of Schools on Trial, I was thoroughly in synch and found it provoking, insightful and a wonderfully clear read.”


from Nikhil – jan 2016:

So I just got word that my forthcoming book SCHOOLS ON TRIAL will be taught in a Harvard Graduate School of Education class this spring semester.


jan 2017 fb share

The Brits are stuck with me a few more years! Just found out that I was accepted into University of Cambridge‘s PhD in Education (Sociology of Education) program. I promise I won’t turn into a neoliberal elitist.


jan 2017 – at cambridge rally – come together



22 and bernie

nikhil and bernie.png


feb 2016 – schools on trial book review/interview – salon


picture has opening of ch 1 – radical notion that children are people…

@nikhilgoya_l @agileschools @tomisparker @guidovandijk @WillyWijnands  Chapter 1 & title is a very important mindset

Original Tweet:

the system is harmful. the system is culpable. however, what happens in nearly every instance is that instead of castigating the perpetrator of this crime, we – society – chide the victims. we blame the students for ‘refusing to be educated.’


Ad for my Google NYC talk on Friday

Original Tweet:




Excerpt of my book SCHOOLS ON TRIAL exposing the corporate attack on public education


rally against king as sec of ed


sec of ed – who instead:


feb 2016 – interview – new approach to broken school model

3 min – when children have control.. shaped by own curiosity

5 min – epic elementary –  in liberty – pbl school

14 min – try a pilot program – innovative pbl

15 min – ideal vision – john holt – learning w/in life/community/city




Do We Still Need Schools?: TEDxDanubia


interview aug 2014:


oct 2013 – talk at stanford:


here he is at cfee: why learning should be messy

– – – –

His book is the voice we have been listening to and experimenting with the last several years.

one size

Nikhil’s words bring up the issue (and the opportunity) for listening deeply, without an agenda, to youth perspective (or even your own) of how days play out in school. I’ve had the opportunity to do just that the last four years and I believe many of us have no idea what we’re all really thinking. Many of us feel there’s not much we could do or change even if we knew more or shared more. Many of us end up just getting on with our days, as they are, doing the best we can, without really asking ourselves if what we’re doing matters. And we’re so busy with getting on, that we’re left with little time in the day to listen, to ourselves, to others, and especially to youth, deeply enough to really hear.
What Nikhil is sharing here is huge. He’s gathered an incredible collection of eclectic people and ideas on what matters, what’s not working, what could work. Imagine we start believing it’s legal to think for ourselves, to respectfully question everything, to be a different size. To value the human spirit over anything else that might be clouding our vision under the guise of public education.
I’m thrilled that this perspective is now in book form. I think more need to realize what we are doing, as well as what we are missing, on a daily basis. Do we have any bigger asset than human potential? What might be more worthy of our time? Imagine if rather than waiting for innovations to scale, we scaled the individual. One size does not fit all.
A huge thank you to Nikhil, for sharing insight that is much needed. I’m hopeful that this perspective will stir up questions and conversations that get at more of the heart of the matter, that get each one of us changing up the way we play out our days. Nikhil poses a lot of questions/issues/solutions that beg our immediate attention.
Listen deeply. This is a quiet revolution, one long in coming, one that touches each of our souls.

Find/follow Nikhil here:

nikhil goyal site

nikhil goyal dot me

from Nikhil’s about page:

Lauded by the Washington Post as a future U.S. Secretary of Education, at age 17, Nikhil Goyal is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School by the Alternative Education Resource Organization. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, FOX and Friends, FOX Business, NBC Nightly News, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Education Week. In 2012, Goyal was named one of the “World Changers” for Dell #Inspire 100.

Nikhil has spoken at NBC, Dell, Cisco, Fast Company, M.I.T., Florida International University, College of the North Atlantic, and other conferences around the world. He is also a guest lecturer at Baruch College.

He is leading a Learning Revolution movement to transform the American school system. Nikhil lives with his family in Woodbury, New York.

To contact, email him at (I read my email!).


Helped get stu-voices going with Zak & Stephanie & …


very cool award – in Selma

nikhi's experience 2

In Selma Alabama at the Sunday Bloody Sunday gala event the elders call upon the young generation to pick up the torch time and time again. Then up step the youngest Spirit of the Flame awarded ever. The Washington Post said Nikhil Goyal will be secretary of education someday. At 17, he is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School by the Alternative Education Resource Organization. The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, and Education Week. In 2012, Goyal was named one of the “World Changers” for Dell #Inspire 100. 
Nikhil is a young man with a great future, and he understand young lives don’t fit those bubble sheet tests. Take a look at the man who wants Arne Duncan’s job. He certainly know more about assessment than Secretary Duncan already.
dec 13, 2014 — Millions March NYC
nikhil at million march

My (Nikhil’s) favorite chant:

Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

– – –

protest ness

speaking at SXSWedu:
nikhil at sxswedu
founder of
learning revolution site
From recent wise chat:
Nikhil Goyal:

It will take time and be challenging, especially for the students who have been immersed into the formal school system for many years. Breaking out of the conformity-like state of mind is not an easy task.

I’ve visited democratic and free schools where children are allowed to do whatever they want. These are the most curious, happy, motivated, and well articulated students that I’ve ever met. They know so much about the world. They have deep relationships. They’re not sleep deprived or hooked on prescription drugs or stressed out.


his talk at Hofstra University. april 11, 2013

vis Nikhil: I’m uncensored, undiluted, and throw shots at every policymaker who has screwed up American education. I start speaking at 1:06:30 and end at 1:19:00.


nikhil image

there’s no way to have a portfolio for Nikhil. a resume couldn’t possibly share all about him.

that’s actually true for 7 billion people. imagine wiping out our current vision of credentialing (to get in places), which is just what Nikhil is seeking to do with college admissions, so that all the people (public) are freed up to do/be breathtaking things every day. site as prototype of app, where then, tech will take care of the details of the trail, freeing us up to be us.



AERO with Peter Gray, Alfie Kohn,..

aero conf


One month, hours of interviews, and 7,065 words later, the first draft of my exposé of college admissions and how we can transform the process is finished.
Beautiful cover of my upcoming white-paper More Than a Number: Reinventing College Admissions. Foreword by Robert Schaeffer of FairTest.Courtesy of Androo Aquino.
nikhil whitepaper
recent rally talk in Albany:
oh my – a mash-up someone did with Sigur Ross – Hoppipola:’Nymous


from his talk at colab13

nikhil's talk in atlanta


dell inspie 100


Nikhil has pored himself into something that matters to him. written a  two books, a whitepaper, traveled the world to share what’s he’s learned from others. from youth voices, et al. it’s hard to not see his passion.


Nikhil’s suggested book reads from 2014:




sept 2015

After a String of Suicides, Students in Palo Alto Are Demanding a Part in Reforming Their School’s Culture


Nikhil Goyal (@nikhilgoya_l) tweeted at 1:06 PM – 22 Nov 2016 :

High school dropouts are astute, sober, and thoughtful mavericks who are indicting the education system for failing them. (


via Nikhil on fb

My Guardian US op-ed arguing that billionaire corporate reformer Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, will accelerate the bipartisan destruction of public education.

WE MUST RESIST.…/public-school-system-trump-ad…


fb share mar 2017

This week, I’m at an education gathering on Richard Branson’s stunning Necker Island. We’ve been tasked with the mission of reimagining education. I gave a talk yesterday about the fight for equitable, humane, and democratic public education for all and the many wonderful progressive models of education.

Alas, I’m one of the few people here who are committed to achieving a RADICALLY DIFFERENT, CHILD-CENTERED, and perhaps most importantly EQUITABLE school system that champions freedom, creativity, and agency in learning, democratic governance, and community with the ultimate purpose of developing critical consciousness within young people so that they will work to attain justice and liberation for all people.

There is often an unwillingness to acknowledge that transforming education is inherently a political exercise. Our education system is not an isolated institution: it is complicit in the reproduction of capitalism and the unjust social order.

We’ve got to fight for democratic schooling. We’ve got to fight for the redistribution of power and resources from the ruling class to the poor and working class. We’ve got to fight for a future where every human being does not simply have the access to, but the right to public education, housing, health care, economic security, a life with dignity.

beyond schooling ness.. a nother way.. for (blank)’s sake


aug 2017 – Nikhil fb share

I went on Brennan DuBose‘s show Disruptive to discuss a New Deal for public education, Bernie Sanders, and why anti-public education Democrats like Cory Booker should be held accountable.


sapping curiosity

huge hunger for diff systems

we need to end poverty

let’s try this.. ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


Nikhil fb share

Happy to announce that I have joined the incredible roster of speakers represented by the American Program Bureau, including my heroes Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, Desmond Tutu, and Jeremy Scahill.




this (all that Nikhil has accomplished) isn’t (doesn’t need to be ) rare.

imagine – facilitating authenticity…

finding all the geniuses inside.. waiting to be seen/heard/loved.


jack et al

and imagine if we called – facilitating curiosity – school – in the city – as the day?

7 billion such researchers/entrepreneurs/happy people.. no?






short  [deep problem,simple mechanism,opensystem]
io dance (blockchain/stack ness: replace server farms – chip energy efficient)
decision making/B redefined via self-talk as data
ie: y combinator; part of 100 mill donated to stanford spent on studying why 100 mill from zuck didn’t work; et al