Former Students' Evaluations of Experiences at a Democratic School

Roles of the Democratic Processes, Staff, and the Community of Students


  • Peter Gray Boston College
  • Gina Riley Hunter College of the City of New York
  • Kevin Curry-Knight East Carolina University


Reported here is a survey of former students of a radically alternative school, the Hudson Valley Sudbury School (HVSS). Like other Sudbury model schools, HVSS is a democratically administered primary and secondary day school, governed by the students and staff together, that has no academic requirements but supports students' self-directed activities. The aim was to learn about the respondents' experiences with and evaluation of those features of the school that define the Sudbury model the democratic legislative and judicial procedures, the non-intervention policy of the staff, and the freedom of students to associate with other students, regardless of age, throughout the school day. The majority of respondents were happy with all of these aspects of the school, though there were some dissenting views. A major finding was that nearly all of the respondents felt that they had learned most from their freely chosen interactions with other students.



Author Biography

Peter Gray, Boston College

Research Professor of Psychology, Boston College





Peer Reviewed Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)