This about our friends at the Village Free School in Portland, Oregon.
My son Cedar’s school has zero mandatory classes, no grades, no sitting at a desk all day, no tests (unless a kid happens to like tests), no arbitrary age divisions and everyone at the school, child or adult, has a say in how the school is run. Cedar attends a democratic school, the Village Free School and it’s a tough concept for many people to wrap their minds around. In general, I’ve found that most people think that without forced classes or rules, kids won’t learn. It’s no surprise people think this way. The norm in America is public schools that function around the idea that a teacher, or another adult must tell students what to learn, how to learn it and when to learn it. Democratic schools are different, functioning upon the notion that students who are given a voice and responsibility early on regarding their education and life, will in fact learn without coercion and become productive members of society. Still, when you say to someone, “Hey, maybe youth can think for themselves,” it sort of messes with the current world order and many find it hard to grasp the concept. Keep reading to learn more about democratic schools.