We, the founders of Alpine Valley Academy, believe that to preserve freedom and self-government in America, we must preserve them in the hearts of our children. We’re doing this by creating freedom-based schools where self-government is a way of life, not just a topic of study. We’re launching the world’s first school whose government is patterned directly after the one outlined in the United States Constitution.
Americanizing Our Schools
The USA is a constitutional republic, complete with separation and balance of powers and where the rule of law holds sway – where “Liberty and Justice for All” is not just a tagline but a way of life. Given that, what should our school’s government look like if we want to preserve our nation’s freedoms? A rigid top-down hierarchy where those at the bottom [the students] have little or no political power? No.
Doesn’t logic suggest our schools should be a smaller version of the greater free society? That way, our children grow up learning to live every day according to principles of freedom and self-government. Our schools should reflect those values and be organized after the same pattern.
We believe schools should be places where the students and staff create, enforce, and judge the laws by which they live every day. A Constitutional school is one that models the government as created by the US Constitution – complete with Separation and Balance of powers and based on the Rule of Law.
50-Year Track Record of Self-Government
Alpine Valley Academy is basically patterned after a school that has been operating successfully for nearly 50 years and has dozens of duplicates around the world – from California and Pennsylvania, to as far away as New Zealand, Israel, Australia, and Japan. All these schools are successfully run every day by the students and staff. They have a legislative assembly and a judicial council. We’re taking it a step further.
A Constitutional School
AVA’s constitution on opening day will be based on a simplified version of the US Constitution. Just like the American government, the school’s government will have all three branches: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. And, just like the original US Constitution, AVA’s will have to be approved by those whom it is to govern, both students and adults.
The school rules are passed by a legislative assembly made up of the staff and students with one-man, one-vote. Since the adults are way out-numbered, the students are always in the majority. Kids are a lot more responsible legislators than most adults give them credit for.
The school also has a judicial council where accused students and staff can be brought up on charges and tried by a jury of their peers. By living it every day, our students will absorb the values of ‘Equal justice before the Law” and to “respect the rights, dignity, and worth of all people.”
Our unique version of the model will add an executive branch. The Executive Committee is responsible for executing the Student Council’s laws and the Judiciary’s rulings. Also, they will wield the veto power, which of course, can be overridden by a 2/3rds majority in the Legislative Branch — just like in the American system.
A Truly American School
So, technically, Alpine Valley Academy will be the country’s first, truly American school, not based on the traditional (Prussian) school model imported to the United States in the 1840s by Horace Mann. That “factory-based” model was created to generate minimally-educated, obedient worker bees. It has worked well for that purpose. We believe our children’s potential demands so much more. It’s surprising Americans didn’t start our country with self-governing schools from the beginning!
If you see value in children learning to govern themselves in a constitution-based, rule of law environment, we invite you to learn more about Alpine Valley Academy.