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By: Nina JeckerByrne
Hudson Valley Sudbury School

I think it is now widely acknowledged that the U.S. school system was originally intended to produce lots of good factory workers – individuals who have basic literacy and are practiced at following orders and obedience to authority figures. And that college was generally intended for a minority of the especially intelligent or wealthy. I have been asking myself over the past year, what is the goal of our country’s school system now? I have found many answers to this question, in books, documentaries, articles, and in conversations with people of differing perspectives. I am no authority on the subject, but it is with a feeling of passionate interest that I share with you my opinion, my answer to this question, in the following paragraphs.

By: Daniel Greenberg
Sudbury Valley School

Sitting before me were a dozen boys and girls, aged nine to twelve. A week earlier, they had asked me to teach them arithmetic. They wanted to learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and all the rest.

"You don't really want to do this," I said, when they first approached me.

"We do, we are sure we do," was their answer.

"You don't really," I persisted. "Your neighborhood friends, your parents, your relatives probably want you to, but you yourselves would much rather be playing or doing something else."

"We know what we want, and we want to learn arithmetic. Teach us, and we'll prove it. We'll do all the homework, and work as hard as we can."

I had to yield then, skeptically. I knew that arithmetic took six years to teach in regular schools, and I was sure their interest would flag after a few months. But I had no choice. They had pressed hard, and I was cornered.

I was in for a surprise.

By: Daniel Greenberg, Mimsy Sadofsky
Sudbury Valley School

How do Sudbury Schools work? For over thirty years, founders, staff, students and parents have written about this exhilarating new way of schooling children. Many excellent articles on the concepts and experiences that make up a Sudbury School have been collected in two books, this one and The Sudbury Valley School Experience, which together provide a solid introduction to this model of education.

By: Daniel Greenberg
Sudbury Valley School

To celebrate the Sudbury Valley School’s 30th anniversary, a series of six talks was presented showing how the people who struggled to implement this new educational model deepened their understanding of topics such as play, conversation, and democracy. The talks were collected in this wonderful book which packs a big punch in a little volume. It is particularly valuable for parents considering Sudbury education for their children.

By: Alan White
Sudbury Valley School

Life is a journey and upon reflection I realize that, in my journey, I have been trying to recapture what was mine as a young child.

The accomplishments of young children up to the age of five are remarkable and have been acknowledged by many before me. They learn to sit up, to crawl, to stand up, to walk, to gain command of spoken language (even several languages), among other things and since almost all babies accomplish these enormously difficult tasks, we are not as awed by their accomplishments as we should be. Rather than recognizing how successful they have been at teaching themselves tasks that would be very difficult for any adult, we have gotten the idea that when they are four or five we can now take over their education and really teach them all the "important" things that they will need to know to be a successful and productive adult. We want to share what we know, offering them short cuts to our hard earned knowledge, and save them from making mistakes. Even if I were to concede that our intentions were good, which is not at all a foregone conclusion, I would argue that we have never been able to come close to doing as well for our children as they have been able to do for themselves.

Sudbury Valley School

"The judicial system was really important because it was so obviously justice that you were involved in... You knew how difficult it was. You were on both sides, or all sides, because you might be... a witness, or a complainant, or the alleged violator, or a member of the judicial committee."

The judicial system at Sudbury Valley is one of the keystones of the school's structure, and has long been our pride and joy. We have always felt, based on the values of the American experience, that due process of law is an essential element in a school embodying the principles of personal liberty, mutual respect, and political democracy. Early in the first year of the school's existence, the School Meeting devoted long hours to establishing the legal principles and juridical structure of the school, with results that quickly produced a stable social order and a prevailing feeling among students, staff, and parents that here everyone got a fair shake when brought before the bar of justice.

Sudbury Valley School

This book quickly became a classic and is still enjoyable and relevant. It lays out the foundations of the Sudbury model in clear, easy terms.

Sudbury Valley School

"The thing that I really like about it was that all the rules were spelled out...so when I came to Sudbury Valley, the first thing I did was read... the Law Book and all the school's rules."

The school as a legal entity is a Massachusetts Corporation, The Sudbury Valley School, Inc. Because it is a non-profit corporation, there are no shareholders. Instead, the Corporation consists of the school's Assembly which, under the by-laws, is made up of students, staff, parents, trustees, and specially elected public members. The Assembly meets regularly once a year, in the late Spring, and determines all the school's basic policies, the annual budget, salary scales, tuition, the award of diplomas, and the Officers and Trustees. The agenda of the Assembly is published in advance and mailed to all members. Any Assembly member can put an item on the agenda by mailing it to the Secretary of the Corporation, c/o the office; items (with a few exceptions) can also be brought up on the floor of the meeting for discussion and vote.

By: Daniel Greenberg
Sudbury Valley School

How does the prevailing system of schooling in America measure up to modern day requirements? A collection of essays addresses this question from various angles. They were first published in the most widely read newspaper in the suburban Boston area.

Part 1: Where we Stand Today

Chapter 2: The American Dream

Read Part 1, Chapter 1: The Problem

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Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12498
 
Phone: 845-679-9550
Fax: 845-679-3480