Re: youth & adult education

Coby Smolens (
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 23:26:26 -0700

I like the sound of this very much. I too feel that the age mixing which
is such an integral part of life at Sudbury schools would be a wonderful
thing to experience in daily life... I get a small taste of it on the
days when I am fortunate enough to be around when my wifes playgroup is
happening at our house.

The dream, of course, is to live in a world in which the doors of all
the compartments of our lives are opened and there need be no special
institutions for learning at all. Want to learn something? Everyone
knows you just go where its being done and learn it!
My wife and I visited Sudbury Valley in May with school all a-buzz with
end-of-the-year activities, yet we were made warmly welcome by staff and
(after they got used to us, having decided that we were not going to
make nuisances of ourselves) students as well. The school did not have
any adult students at the time, but they are by no means unheard-of.
Enrollment is genuinely open -- anyone who can come up with the (very
reasonable) tuition can attend, and many adults have done so, though in
nothing like the numbers of their younger counterparts.

My feeling is that most adults (present company no doubt excepted) would
have difficulty learning in this type of environment, having had the
kind of real self-directed drive, the self-discipline it takes to find
and pursue an interest to a high degree of satisfaction largely pounded
out of us by years of public or "alternative" education, followed by
more years of work within the kind of mechanical reality we were
prepared for in school. Or else most of us are so busy just trying to
make ends meet that it's difficult to imagine taking a year off to go
and study something we won't even earn useful "credits" for.