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Introduction

Imagine you are visiting a school where there are no locks on the lockers, and a five-dollar bill is pinned on a bulletin board with a note requesting that the owner claim it.

You step into a ninth-grade classroom to be greeted by a sea of shining faces. The students are wide awake—eager to learn. You ask a question and every hand shoots up. The students giggle with anticipation.

A teacher tells you she has more energy after a day’s teaching than before. A parent confides that her children complain on Fridays that there is no school on the weekend.

In the past few years the School has graduated ten times the national average of National Merit Scholar Finalists, seen 95% of graduates accepted at four-year colleges, and had grades 10–12 consistently score in the top 1% of the nation on standardized tests of educational development.

You are amazed to learn that the School has no entrance exams, with open enrollment from a diversity of backgrounds. Yet the student body is brimming with creative intelligence. Published research reports that each year students grow in intelligence, creativity, and academic performance, as well as in qualities of leadership and citizenship.

Trophy cases are overflowing with state, national, and international prizes for academics, speech, fine arts, creative problem solving, and sports. For example, in the creative problem-solving competitions Odyssey of the Mind and Destination ImagiNation, which most schools reserve for their talented and gifted program, students have won more state championships than any other school in state history. They have also won the international Global Finals three times, and garnered more top-ten finishes than any other school in the world.

And that is just the beginning. Students have won more of the top awards in group speech competitions than any other school in state history, and since they started competing in 1988, they have won 16 boys’ state tennis championships—far more than any other school in that time period. Indeed, since the first graduating class in 1983, more state championship ribbons have been awarded than there are School alumni.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that these accomplishments seem to flow naturally without pressure on the students. In fact, the stress level of students and faculty is extremely low—so low that faculty have less than half the health-care costs of other schools.

Racial harmony is evident, and cliques and bullying are absent. The principal confides that he’s never had to break up a fight in the past decade.

The students are obviously happy and show a deep respect for their teachers. An accreditation board member remarks that during a three-day visit he did not hear one harsh word said between any students, or between any teacher and student.

You may wonder if you are in a dream. Could a school like this really exist? The answer is yes. I’m fortunate enough to be the director of such a school, and I have written this book not because I want you to admire our achievements but so you can see how simple it is to implement what we do and replicate this success at any school anywhere.

So what do we do that’s different? It’s very simple and the students really enjoy it. For a few minutes each day they sit comfortably and practice the Maharishi Transcendental MeditationSM technique to develop their total creative potential. This effortless mental procedure produces holistic brain functioning, resulting in increased intelligence, reduced stress, and improved social behavior.

This book describes the success of this Consciousness-BasedSM approach to education and should be a refreshing change for those who are tired of reading books that describe in painful detail the depressing failures of modern education, but then fail to provide practical solutions.

In Chapter 1, I analyze from a new perspective the problems plaguing education, and then, in Chapter 2, I discuss a simple solution that has been scientifically verified, and field tested, in hundreds of schools around the world. In Chapters 3, 4, and 5, I describe the unique qualities of Maharishi School and the extraordinary achievements of our students. Chapter 6 reviews the unique benefits of Consciousness-Based education for the health and well-being of students and teachers, and Chapter 7 reports on the benefits seen in other schools where the program has been implemented. In Chapter 8, I present how Consciousness-Based education is being applied to prevent school violence and create a peaceful world family. Chapter 9 explains how to implement the program in any school. Chapter 10 provides new principles of education that are emerging to replace the failed old principles that have prevailed for centuries, and in conclusion, Chapter 11 gives a vision of the bright future in store for humanity as more and more schools adopt Consciousness-Based education.

The good news is that today any school can offer a practical, proven program that fulfills the highest aspirations of educators, parents, and students, simply by adding one period a day to the existing curriculum. This one addition will provide what has been lacking in education—new knowledge that is effective in solving the problems that plague our schools and society.

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