Lappe suggests creating school systems that are more than “factory models.” She wrote, “But in truth, the factory model of education allots teachers very little. They just work the learning assembly line: Screw on some science here, attach a little math there, pound in a little history, and out comes a shiny new graduate. Teachers aren’t co-creators of the process: they simply are conveyors of mandated data” (Lappe). Alternatively, we can revitalize the culture of education to create a living democracy in schools so that youth realize that democracy is not just a form of government, but a way of life (Lappe). (emphasis mine)
When first considering these ideas some imagine students with limited decision making power. Perhaps they would vote on a given set of choices for an assignment. But Sudbury schools give Lappe’s ideas new meaning. We needn't theorize about participating in a living democracy, students at MLSS are experiencing one. We fully embody the concept of a “shared culture of responsibility” (Lappe).
As the United States helps other countries establish democratic practices, it is important to take a closer look at freedom and democracy in our own country. How free are children that have to ask to do something so innately human as go to the bathroom? Why do we demand that they follow rules that they did not help form? This practice conditions them to accept a role of subordination. This has nothing to do with democracy and egalitarianism. If we want our children to be democratic citizens, then schools that practice democracy are necessary.
paraphrased from a Sego Lily Sudbury School blog post
by Tara Maher