Sudbury is timeless because it is founded on immutable human principles. One thousand years from now humans will still be curious. We will still desire to know. We will still play and we will still create. We will still ponder the great mysteries of the universe and search for our purpose and our meaning. And as long as we live so too will live the human impulse for the freedom necessary to give life to our nature.
A school founded on freedom moors itself to an unwavering principle. History records the seemingly endless struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of enslavement. Still today many risk everything for freedom. And far too many still suffer the lingering effects of historic enslavement. Freedom is a precious and fragile human right that untold millions have risked everything to obtain for themselves, their families, and their descendants. A school founded on freedom hoists this luminous shining jewel up like a guiding star in the heavens, where it belongs, beyond the everyday concerns too often used to tug at its fragile foundation.
Individual responsibility is the foundation of freedom. Freedom is easily lost without also embracing the responsibility that comes with it. A school founded on freedom must necessarily be founded on individual responsibility. Freedom implies individual choice and free will. Therefore, in order to have freedom one must take individual responsibility for their choices. If we do not take responsibility for our choices, then someone will do it for us and thus erode our freedom.
Sudbury students learn responsibility by having the freedom to take it early and often. Like a baby learning to walk one must learn to take responsibility with small things before they can take responsibility for big things – such as their own lives after graduation. Sudbury recognizes that freedom and individual responsibility are inextricably intertwined. This is a fundamental human principle that transcends the ages. Learning the connection between freedom and individual responsibility empowers Sudbury students and molds them into confident adults who are unafraid to take on responsibility.
And one thousand years from now a pure democracy will remain the fairest system of balancing the needs of a community against the rights of an individual.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. – Winston Churchill (1947)
Sudbury students learn democracy by living it. They learn equality by being it. They find their voice by having one that actually counts. Sudbury does not have collaborative learning. Sudbury IS collaborative learning. Sudbury does not have have project-based learning. Sudbury IS project-based learning. All of this flows from the fundamental organizational principle of every Sudbury school – democracy.
Sudbury does not change with the seasons. It does not adopt the latest trends. It has no pedagogy to offend and promotes no curriculum to condemn. It builds nothing upon the constantly shifting sands of human knowledge and understanding. But rather plants itself on solid ground that confers dignity and respect: Democracy – Freedom – Individual Responsibility. Democratia – Libertas – Onus. One thousand years from now a Sudbury school could be founded on these principles and it would be as fresh, dynamic, and challenging as the ones that exist today. Sudbury is timeless.