Hern's "Deschooling Reader" is a great collection of essays, including one by Tolstoy which shows how old the fight is between the centralizers and innovators in education. My favorite alternative education theorist so far, though, is John Taylor Gatto, a former New York State Teacher of the Year who quit because he "didn't want to hurt his kids anymore". His ideal curriculum is called "guerilla curriculum", or "open source learning", in which he does a bio on the student, with the help of the kid and the parents/guardians. The child plans what he or she wants to learn and an agreement is signed in secret with the parent, to get buy—in. Kids are encouraged to skip school if that's what's needed for their research.