Nurture: Mending K-12
a new book by Don Berg

Is this JUST another …

Call for reform?

Arbitrary set of expectations to impose on teachers and/or students?

Nurture is a plan for principled leadership.

Whether you are a district administrator, a principal, a teacher, or a parent, Nurture presents a set of frameworks for change that are principled, not prescriptive.

This book provides well-grounded guidance, not marching orders.

Your community knows your unique challenges; what school managers need to make good policy decisions are scientifically grounded principles that support truly nurturing classroom experiences.

The focus of Nurture is on useful solutions with both teachers and children in mind.

Bottom line: Teachers need to do (and be supported to do) what they already want to do—Nurture the children!


  • 3 Key Symptoms: Dropping out, failing to achieve, and fauxchievement (failing to attain mastery in spite of “achieving” in school).
  • Diagnosis: Systemic motivational deficiencies.
  • Cause: Lack of nurturing (the neglect and/or thwarting of primary psychological needs.)
  • Cure: Systematic support for more nurturing. We can learn effective strategies from certain alternative schools that have demonstrated positive patterns of motivation in their students.
  • Primary Barriers to the Cure: A large-scale misunderstanding of teaching and learning due to the intuitively seductive but naïve delivery theory of education, as well as societal assumptions about the necessity of controlling children for their own good.

Achieving the necessary changes will require substantial coordinated organizational and political action. So, let's get started!

  • For immediate practical use Nurture presents specific behaviors for supporting the primary psychological need for autonomy.
  • A more apt theory of education, cognitive cartography (mental mapmaking), is presented.
  • Nurture also presents plans for bringing to scale the successful strategies of certain alternative schools (the schools that have so far been shown to nurture their students).

About the Author

Don Berg is an alternative education researcher, practitioner, and author.

His research has been published recently in the peer-reviewed journals Other Education and The Journal Of The Experimental Analysis Of Behavior.

He has over 20 years of experience leading children in a wide variety of non-classroom settings.

His first book was entitled Attitude First: A Leadership Strategy for Educational Success.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Don't Fret: It's Not Your Fault and We Will Make It Better

     The Larger Task Ahead: A Cautionary Fairy Tale

     Summary of Nurture: Mending K-12

Chapter 1 - Nurture the Children: The Leverage Point for Starting to Solve the Core Problem in K-12

Chapter 2 - Control is Educational Cholera: A New Kind of Mapping for Nurturing is Needed

     Cognitive Cartography

     Consider The Hidden Curriculum

     On Right Relationship Between Practitioners and Researchers

Chapter 3 - Mapping the Power of Participation: Developing Nurturing Protocols

     Participation Map Proposal

     The New 3R's with Associated Psychological Components Table

     The Attitutor® Participation Map

Chapter 4 - Mapping the Context of Our Power: Developing Policies to Support Nurturing

     The Moral Universe Map: A Sacred Loop

Chapter 5 - Small-Scale Change: Schools, Districts, and Education Management Organizations

     Redesigning Schools for Nurturing: Fauxchievement Prevention Plans© 

Chapter 6 - Large-scale Change: Governments, Cultures, and Society

     Organizing for Sustainable Change: The Schools of Conscience Network

Afterword - The Gatekeeper Story

Appendix 1 - An Inconvenient Truth: How the K-12 School System Causes Harm and What to Do About It

     Controlling vs. Autonomy Supportive Instruction from Reeve, 2009

     References for Appendix 1

Appendix 2 - Attitutor® Axioms

     Holistic Education From First Principles

Appendix 3 - The Story of School

Appendix 4 - Experience Model Proposal

     Holistic Experience Model

Appendix 5 - A Foundation in Moral Logic- Justifying the Central Dogma

     Another Inconvenient Truth: Weaponized Schools

Appendix 6 - The Self-Directed Education FAQ





How to get the book

It is available to members of Schools of Conscience as a membership benefit for pledging support of $95 or more (which can be paid off by installments of as little as $5 per month). And as an additional benefit you will forever be a founding member and welcome to participate in the process of completing the book.

Join today!

You can also sign up to get the book in installments in PDF format as it's being completed. Just contact Don and ask to be included in the pre-publication readers crew.