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Democratically Student-run schools

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Saw this story on the news about a school in Florida, Sunset Sudbury School, which is run entirely by the students. All rules are set by democratic vote, including all infractions and punishments. (In the video, an adult is seen "propos[ing] a rule: that we don't pee in the garden," and the kids vote on it, and vote to punish the offender ex post facto, and then jump in and do the punishment collectively, to which it is implied we are to applaud them for their altruism, because they are learning "higher" values of some sort. "Higher" than reading, writing, and math, I suppose.) Students arrive when they want, and if they want. They do whatever they want. Play whenever, work whenever, go anywhere. Teachers and staff don't teach anything, they just sort of watch over the kids, and they have one vote, just like them. There's no age segregation, everyone is equal. There are no lesson plans, lectures, or examinations of any sort. And yet they claim remarkable success at getting kids admitted to college, and teaching them how to "self-actualize" in some sort of yippie kind of way.

Here is the video of the story on NBC news:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#40798710

And a few articles:

http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Childs-Heaven-on-Earth:-The-Sunset-Sudbury-School&id=5508934

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/education/fl-cool-school-new-school-20101205,0,6390449.story

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Late response here.

This is probably the most ineffective method of instructing children. Schooling as a service primary function should be to equip future adults with the tools necessary to obtain a job, provide a solid, rational philosophical background, and enforce some amount of socialization (it isn't particularly prudent to attach social zombies to your institution). Period. Foregoing the former two in favor of just socialization produces nothing of value to society. What good is someone if they can only run a "democratic society?" Further adding to the absurdity, the officials of this abomination of logic claim "remarkable success" from their methods. Not success in traditional subjects--Math, English/Language, Science, History/Social Sciences--but in some dubious, ambiguous concept. If this continues, which it probably will seeing as how these "new-age" methods are being increasingly proliferated throughout the media, these children will be mental stumps: incapable of reasoning in the traditional subjects, incapable of determining the benefits from the negatives from a given situation, and unable to determine a background.

This is far worse than any "education" that even the worst of public schools could provide.

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What good is someone if they can only run a "democratic society?" Further adding to the absurdity, the officials of this abomination of logic claim "remarkable success" from their methods.

I'm assuming the success they meant is getting into college, but even still, the idea was very vague. I would think that the reason there is ANY amount of "success" is because the parents seem to be well-educated (although, to send kids to a school like this is quite stupid), so the kids might still manage conceptual development from parental guidance and encouragement. The only possible good here is that students are not a victim of standard public schooling which, though that is only replaced with non-education. Not a viable alternative, and equally destructive to the minds of children.

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I'm assuming the success they meant is getting into college, but even still, the idea was very vague. I would think that the reason there is ANY amount of "success" is because the parents seem to be well-educated (although, to send kids to a school like this is quite stupid), so the kids might still manage conceptual development from parental guidance and encouragement. The only possible good here is that students are not a victim of standard public schooling which, though that is only replaced with non-education. Not a viable alternative, and equally destructive to the minds of children.

I disagree, partially. Albeit taught in a non-rigorous manner, if these children were exposed to public education, they would at least learn something, anything. Among others, skills necessary to survive in this modern day. As you observed, they probably are receiving some education from their parents, but how much, and how comprehensive? Ideally they would attend a magnate school.

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