Belgium: "Dear Minister Spaenle …"
Dear Minister Spaenle,
I have just been informed of the closure of Sudbury School Ammersee. I must tell you how shocked I am. As a mum, as a European citizen, I strongly believe in the virtues of education and particularly those of self-directed education.
There is now ample evidence that such kind of education is effective and efficient, i.e. that schools such as Sudbury schools spend less money per student than public schools and achieve very good results.
Some 40 Sudbury schools have been founded in a number of (European) countries, based on the 47-year old American Sudbury Valley School, some of them being involved in the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC).
Democracy and education have been very high on the world agenda lately and EUDEC has contributed to the reflection in progress, amongst others at the World Forum for Democracy under the auspices of the Council of Europe. See for instance the contribution by EUDEC to "Reinventing school governance". This is what Sudbury schools are all about.
Furthermore, as a European citizen, I claim the right to education as enshrined in Article 2 of Protocol the the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (see German translation here), which reads:
Right to education
No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions. (I underline)
I would assume that German citizens also enjoy such fundamental right. German parents who send their children to a Sudbury school do nothing but exercise their right to choose the education model they find to be best suited for their children. Wouldn't you do the same?
Therefore, I demand, in solidarity with the parents of children attending Sudbury School Ammersee, that you reconsider your decision to close the school. I am convinced that through a constructive dialogue with the members of the school, you and your administration will come to understand that the parents concerned are responsible citizens who want to bring out the best of their children by choosing one type of education that has long proved to be effective.
Yours sincerely, F.C.