Essays

Sunday, May 1, 2016
There is a question which I dread and which I am invariably always asked. It is: “If you say that the children at SVS are supposed to be in charge of their lives at the school and do and learn what they want when and how they want, what then is that… Read more ›
Friday, April 1, 2016
I Not long ago, an article appeared in a major urban newspaper, which labeled Sudbury Valley as a “School with No Teachers.” Soon after, the newspaper that serves the Metro-West Boston region (in which Sudbury Valley is located) featured us in a big… Read more ›
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Many parents in Hong Kong (and in other places) want their children to study at and graduate from a prestigious university. While for some this is just a pipedream others start serious preparations shortly after the offspring is born. The most… Read more ›
Monday, February 1, 2016
The Hidden Power of Conversation I We have always stressed the central role conversation plays in the way people learn – and, in particular, in the way students learn at Sudbury Valley. The students recognize this clearly, and often talk about the… Read more ›
Friday, January 1, 2016
During the school year 1997-98, as part of Sudbury Valley School’s Thirtieth Anniversary celebrations, a series of six talks was presented on the theme: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Thirty Years Ago. This is an edited version of the second… Read more ›
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
(edited from a presentation to the Cascade Valley School Assembly) Over the years, we found that the parents who choose to send their children to Sudbury Valley School very few things in common. They don’t seem to come from the same socio-economic… Read more ›
Sunday, November 1, 2015
This article originally appeared in the Sudbury Valley School NEWSLETTER, and it has since been published in The Sudbury Valley School Experience, 1992, Sudbury Valley School Press, Framingham, MA. Have you ever noticed the uniqueness of the way… Read more ›
Thursday, October 1, 2015
You “brought people up” and that’s kind of a funny thing. If an adult had asked me, I don’t know if I would have been able to explain “bringing people up.” What does that mean? [p.172] 1 The judicial committee was your tool for making people… Read more ›
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Reprinted from The Sudbury Valley School NEWSLETTER; vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 3-6 I On at least four occasions during the past eight years, people have attempted to film documentaries of The Sudbury Valley School, for presentation to the public. Two of… Read more ›
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Based on a talk delivered on July 18, 2005 during the Summer Workshop for Staff of Sudbury Schools and Startup Groups held on the campus of Sudbury Valley School. The subject of this paper is central to any Sudbury school – indeed, to any community… Read more ›
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
November is the time of year that I always feel is least adventuresome, so I tried to add a little challenge to mine this year. Dan and I are studying the judicial system at SVS, something some of us have been calling “the heart of the school” for… Read more ›
Monday, June 1, 2015
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of my first entry into the world of education, as a teaching assistant in the Physics Department of Columbia University (where I was a graduate student). I wanted to share some of my ruminations about my half… Read more ›
Friday, May 1, 2015
One day in late summer Danny came home from school with a very grim face. I knew that he had bad news for me and he indeed said that something terrible happened. Of course, being me, I thought that someone I cared about died. Danny said, “Yes, it’s… Read more ›
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
What a Classic Children’s Parable Tells Us About Sudbury Valley Delve into it, delve into it; the more you delve, the more you find in it. ~Ancient Rabbinic Saying I Everyone knows the story of the emperor’s new clothes; it is a classic among… Read more ›
Sunday, March 1, 2015
From a speech delivered at Spring Valley School’s Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration, in February 2012. Strangers coming to our campus often say, “When I got out of my car in the parking lot, I could feel that this was a joyous or a beautiful or a… Read more ›
Sunday, February 1, 2015
There is a book on my desk: “Wanderlust” . . . . This book is about peripatetics! While reading it, I thought about the two little girls walking side by side, on a road leading to Sudbury [Valley], talking about something very important. Sudbury has… Read more ›
Thursday, January 1, 2015
For years and years every Wednesday the upstairs piano room is taken over by Sharon Kane and her students. When I glance through the door’s window I see kids of all ages working with Sharon, but I have always wondered what is really going on in… Read more ›
Monday, December 1, 2014
We have a lot to muse about as we struggle to make ourselves comfortable in a world that seems to be mainly for people whose brains are more advanced than ours. Who is we? Well, it is my generation, for sure. It is in no sense today's generation,… Read more ›