The passing of Ned Vare, unschooling advocate
Anyone claiming "leader" or "pioneer" today makes me chuckle. These folks are some of the true pioneers of the modern unschooling movement and both Ned and Luz have inspired many of us over the years. Thanks to both of you for all the energy and passion you've put into helping so many embrace the unschooling life.
It is with great sadness that we inform our supporters that a great friend and homeschool freedom champion, Ned Vare, has died. Ned was a fearless fighter for educational freedom. I first met him in 1990 when he was in the forefront of the effort to defeat government regulation of homeschooling in Connecticut. He was wise to all the background, history, and rationale behind public schooling and homeschooling.
Over the years, he not only educated me on the ways of the educational world, but educated untold others. He and his soulmate, Luz Shosie, met in 1973 at Ned’s ranch in Silt, Colorado. Together they raised their son, Cassidy, without schooling, with what is now called UNschooling. In essence, they wisely guided Cassidy in educating himself, an experiment, they say, that surpassed all of their expectations.
Ned and Luz were inspired by the writings of John Holt, and together, they started a support group for unschoolers and operated the Unschoolers Unlimited Newsletter for many years. More recently Ned penned a blog entitled, “School Is Hell”. Ned could always be seen supporting the right to educate in freedom at every gathering across the state, from his hometown in Guilford to Hartford and beyond. Ned was never afraid to confront any government official whom he believed was acting in any way to deny parents their rights.
Ned was tireless in his ability to engage legislators in quiet, polite, but persistent conversation educating them as to the rights of parents and why they should support educational freedom. Ned was extremely successful at this endeavor and was instrumental in persuading many key legislators to support the rights of parents in Connecticut. We are also fortunate that Ned, with Luz, wrote his thoughts about educational freedom in a book that I proudly keep in a most prominent place in my home. It’s called “Smarting Us Up, the Un Dumbing of America”. Ned was a true inspiration, who had a keen wit, a most engaging personality, and always the nicest smile. I was proud to call Ned my friend, and he will be sorely missed. A memorial service is planned for him at a date to be announced in the fall.
- Deborah Stevenson – Exec. Dir., National Home Education Legal Defense