A year ago I heard an episode of This American Life about children and politics. It included a segment about the Brooklyn Free School, a school in New York run democratically by the students as well as teachers. The segment focuses on the participation of the students in the rules, class meetings, and politics of the goings on in the school. This is because the Brooklyn Free School is based on a model by A.S. Neill whose English boarding school, Summerhill School, is one of the first with a democratic foundation. In both schools, students are encouraged to set their own rules democratically with their peers and teachers, everyone's voice counting for one vote. The This American Life segment about the Brooklyn Free School emphasized that rules can be made and unmade by students, but most of the time, nothing is done.
"[That's part of the plan.] You know, so what if there's no resolution? The point is they're left with something to think about. What are you going to do about it? You know, that's more interesting to me than somebody deciding that this is the way it should be. And then it's all easier, and it all goes nicer." -- Katherine Chew on This American Life
More about democratic education later.
Institute for Democratic Education in America