Via Education News: A.S. Neill’s Summerhill, which extols the progressive school he founded in England, is being republished — without Neill’s politically incorrect words and ideas. The Guardian reports:
The dictum that a pupil who plays with his pencil has a repressed urge to masturbate was just one of the pronouncements made by the late A.S. Neill in Summerhill, the landmark book written by the founder of Britain’s most famous progressive school.
Controversial and provocative, Neill’s explanation of Summerhill’s pioneering philosophies is still widely regarded as a bible of liberal education, yet now the book is to be republished with most of its author’s words excised.
. . . In the original text, first published in 1962 but now out of print, Neill explained his reasons for creating the independent school that became as famous for allowing its pupils to skip lessons as for the habit of staff and students to sunbathe nude.
The new edition, however, will cut Neill’s arguments in half, replacing them with a short introduction by Zoe Readhead, principal of Summerhill since 1985 and Neill’s daughter.
Neill’s beliefs were founded firmly on Freud. In one of the sections that is to be cut, he wrote that ‘Summerhill has not turned out a single homosexual… because Summerhill children do not suffer from a guilt complex about masturbation’.
I remember reading Summerhill when I was in high school. It sounded too good to be true.