From The Atlantic: In Massachusetts farm country, not far from Boston, a group of about 200 students of all ages are part of a radical experiment. These students don’t take any classes they don’t specifically ask to have taught. They can spend their time doing whatever they want, as long as it’s not destructive or criminal – reading, playing video games, cooking, making art. There are 11 adults, called “staff members”; no one technically holds the title of “teacher.” The kids establish rules and mete out punishments by a democratic process whereby each member of the community has one vote – which means the adults are “outnumbered” by the kids almost 20 to one. Unlike at most private schools, students are admitted without regard to their academic records. Sudbury Valley School will this spring find itself one focus of a book by the psychologist and Boston College professor Peter Gray, whose own son attended Sudbury Valley in the 1980s. The experience of his young son, who was struggling in school, convinced him to entirely shift the focus of his career.

Advertisements