I see that many of you had some really bad experiences with ACE/School of Tomorrow. However, just because you had a bad experience at your "school" does not make all the curriculum bad. I have 2 sons that have used ACE and love it. One is now a sophomore in college. I called him after reading all your horrible comments and experiences. He told me that it was a "nearly perfect curriculum". It allowed him to work at his own pace and learn what they offered or reach past the basics and learn so much more. He graduated from high school with honors and scored exceptionally well on the ACT. He loves learning. He did not attend one of the schools your talked about. He was homeschooled and maybe that made for a better all around experience. The other one is a freshman in high school and has used ACE for most of his education. One year he even attended an ACE private school. However, it did not resemble the schools in your descriptions at all. Yes, they had rules and order in the classroom (which is what most public schools lack today). We left the ACE curriculum once, but came back at his request. It's concise, often reviews past information taught, and checks progress often. Don't be so quick to "throw the baby out with the bath water" You must have attended unsatisfactory schools, but the curriculum is well written, offers a complete education and absolutely does not fall into the lines of a cult.
The problem with the ACE system is the fact that there are no teachers to teach the students.
Now in comparison to conventional schools, look at the ACE system. A student learns by reading the text. In other words, there are no lectures of material, with the exception of daily morning chapel, physical education, and in ABCs of ACE (k-5 level.) If a student does not not complete the assigned pages of his work, he is required to take the balance home as homework. There were occasional science projects written into the Science PACEs, but since each student works at his own speed, the possibility of group projects (that also build social interaction skills) does not exist. With the exception of the PACE test, Student grades his own work. With that said, student is expected to monitor his own progress while pursuing his goals. Students have fewer methods of learning (no group study is possible) and are bombarded with opportunities to cheat the system by memorizing answers from Key, and scoring inaccurately. Monitors took on the roll of compliance enforcement in two ways. First of all, the monitor scores the entire PACE before the student is signed off to take the Self Test. Violations are punished with one green talley (or demerit) per violation. On occasion, the monitor may go through every students' PACEs checking for discrepancies and rewarding them accordingly. Physical Education was the most common time for monitors to do their snooping. I remember one day I got two talleys and had squeaked by the rest of the day with no other talleys. When returning from physical education, I saw a note on the front of my Social Studies PACE with 5 check marks beside page numbers. with a note that said "You have 5 green talleys." I think that was the first time I ever uttered curses on the system. I got paddled the next day. The system sets a student up for failure. And encourages a student to cheat and try to beat the system. I felt like I had to cheat the system just to survive in that school.
Why compare the two systems? To prove that the ACE system puts too much on the student to learn. Matthew 23:4 references the words of Christ, when he rebuked the scribes and Pharasees for putting heavy loads on the backs of the laborers, with they themselves remain unwilling “to lift a finger.” The system allows too many ways for students to beat the system. It is very easy for the smarter students to simply learn material to pass the PACE tests. Because most (if not all) of the questions were pulled directly from the PACEs. Of course the student will love that. But academically it hurts the student. And the student doesn't have a clue.
The fact that your son is a sophomore in college is more of an exception to the rule. Most of the students that attended my ACE school did not go to college. One third to one half of them did not finish high school.
The rules of the school seemed to take precedence over the curriculum and instruction. I can quote to you the ACE handbook under "Standards of Conduct." "Students of this school are expected to refrain from talking about or enguaging in cheating, smoking, swearing, listening to rock music, drinking alcoholic beverages, and using narcotics. Students who participate in such activity are subject to suspension. Students are expected to act in accordingly, maintaining Christian standards of... meekness, morality, and honesty. If a student is aware of another participating in such activity he should immediately report it to a supervisor. THIS IS NOT TATTLING! All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
What happened to this concept? When you see your brother in sin, you go to him privately. That's Biblical. You don't immediately report him. But the ACE handbook says you find someone doing something and you report him. So in other words ACE wants people to stick their noses in other people's business and snitch on them. That is totally against what the Bible says. "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." (Proverbs 26:17, King James Version)
The problem with the ACE system is the fact that its participants do not realize the mess until later in life. Your children may have loved it, but but it probably hurt their development. One year in an ACE school will not hurt a child. But nine years of it definitely hurt me.
I don't know what else to say. The ACE system is no way to "Train up a child..."