October 5, 2012

What Have I Been Doing?

It has been many months since I last posted.  This is not because of a lack of interest but rather a multitude of life experience that has deepened my commitment to service and broadened my perspective.

Since my last post, I have been part of the founding team of a K-12 school in Atlanta.  The Sudbury School of Atlanta is now open and serving students.  It is a school dedicated to the joy of learning in an enriching environment that respects and trusts students.  The school is based on cooperation rather than competition and is democratically-run.  Students make the majority of the decisions including how money is allocated and even which staff members return year after year.

People may ask, "isn't that a lot of power you give to students?"  Absolutely, because we trust that students are good people.  We don't assume they have bad intentions when they walk through the door.  That is a self-fulfilling prophecy for many schools.  Surround someone with an environment of distrust and most people will act according to the expectations.  Surround someone with an environment of trust and responsibility and you will get trustworthy, responsible students.  For an extreme example of how our environment can negatively affect our behavior, check out the Stanford Prison Experiment.

When you have a school that does not pit students against each other in competition and trusts them with great freedom and responsibility, the result is a school that develops the content of your character.  It empowers students start to finish.  It provides an educational model exactly in line with the outcomes we commonly seek for our society: responsible citizens who are independent thinkers, good decision makers and lifelong learners.  The means and the ends are the same.    

I'm happy to be back writing again and I look forward to sharing new thoughts and new endeavors!

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