Global Field Academy is operated as a democratic education, an ideal in which democracy is both a goal and a method of learning. It brings democratic values to education including self-determination within a community of equals, as well as, such values as justice, respect and trust. Democratic education is often specifically emancipatory, with the students’ voices being equal to the educators. This is not a new concept, but may have been largely forgotten during the industrial age. Democratic Education dates to the founders and forward thinkers of the United States. In 1693, John Locke, philosopher and physician, one of the most influential thinkers of that time declares:
“None of the things they are to learn, should ever be made a burthen to them, or impos’d on them as a task. Whatever is so propos’d, presently becomes irksome; the mind takes an aversion to it, though before it were a thing of delight or indifferency. Let a child but be order’d to whip his top at a certain time every day, whether he has or has not a mind to it; let this be but requir’d of him as a duty, wherein he must spend so many hours morning and afternoon, and see whether he will not soon be weary of any play at this rate.” (Locke, Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693).
Order during the day is established by "School Meeting" and Judicial Committee, one person, one vote. At School Meeting students and administrators are and have the opportunity to be a part of the process of recommending, approving and scheduling field trips, partnerships, budgets, hiring staff, seeking approval for funding, overseeing school discipline, school improvements. At Judicial Committee (JC), all of the rules are spelled out and agreed upon by every member of the school and become the Law Book. At Judicial Committee, any student or administrator who is written up for an infraction is reviewed, investigated, and punished at judicial committee which is made up of peers and administrators. To learn more about program governance see school governance.