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My experiences as a public school student drove me into teaching with a mind for reform. Yet my experiences as a teacher drove me to a complete rethinking of what it means to be educated. Foremost in my mind is the question of purpose—what John Dewey terms “the aims of education”—and how to revive a truly learner-centered approach to schooling. I have been influenced by many thinkers, especially Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, an early 20th century Japanese education reformer. His theory of soka, or “value-creation” profoundly influences my work.