Re: Fwd: FW: Comparing the Sudbury Model

Dale R. Reed (
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 07:39:16 -0800

Coby Smolens wrote(or at least passed on, I can't actually tell who
wrote this):

<snip snip from a very large and interesting posting>


<smaller snip>

> But unschoolers, for the most part, see the family environment as the
> best place for children to grow,

Clearly the writer has not read Grace Llewellyn's three books on
unschooling. Many unschoolers do not "grow" in a "family environment"
but live "Real Lives, eleven teenagers who don't go to school" or grow
in lives of "Freedom Challenge, African American homeschoolers" or
de-school(including from all the other kinds of schools listed on this
posting) by following the advise in "The Teenage Liberation Handbook,
how to quit school and get a real life and education."

>while the Sudbury model believes that, as
> the African proverb states, "It takes a village to raise a child."
> Children and parents have complex relationships and interdependencies
> which make it harder for children to discover true independence within the
> family. In the environment of a Sudbury school, children face direct
> personal responsibility for their actions, without the emotional baggage
> that family-based accountability can sometimes carry. In addition,
> children are more able to develop some important social skills in a
> democratic school -- the ability to tolerate diversity of opinion, to
> speak out against inappropriate behavior, and to develop and carry out
> group projects, for example. In most homeschooling families, the parent
> sees him or herself as ultimately responsible for the child's education,
> while at Sudbury schools, that responsibility rests squarely with the
> child

Sounds like something published last week in the Letters to the Editor
of the Wall Street Journal by the president of the NEA. In fact here is
his letter:

Letters to the Editor Wall Street Journal, Wednesday 3-19-97

Home Schooling's Downside

The conclusion of Michael P. Farris in his March 5 editorial-page
piece "Solid Evidence to Support Home Schooling" that "hard work and
parental involvement lead to the best individual academic achievement"
are not only "old-fashioned concepts," as he states, they are common
sense. A new study's findings on home schooling reveals what public
school educators have long known: Children who work hard and whose
parents are involved in their education academically excel.

Mr. Farris points to standardized test results for home-educated
students to boost the home-schooling movement. But such measures of
academic success are misleading given the inherent bias in comparing
home-schooled children with their public school counterparts. Children
taught at home, quite obviously, come from families who place a high
emphasis on the value of education. Given Mr. Farris's appreciation for
the role of parental involvement, he should recognize that these
children would likely do better than average regardless of where they
were schooled.
Also missing from the debate on home schooling are the benefits that
public schools provide children, advantages that most common standards
of educational success overlook. Education is more than forcing facts
into a child's head: it is learning to work with others and interacting
with people from different races, backgrounds and ethnic groups. Public
education represents a slice of reality that goes beyond participation
in 4-H activities, ballet classes and church socials. It is a
preparation for the real world that all students will have to face
whether they are leaving the security of a school or their parents"
As the home-schooling movement seeks to further advance it existence,
the National Education Association will continue its efforts to restore
the public's confidence in public schools by working to raise standards
for students and teachers, improve parental involvement, reduce class
size and promote proven methods for increasing student achievement.
Home schooling presents public school advocates with the challenge to do
better, and we will meet this challenge so that all parents see public
education as the finest option available for their child. BOB CHASE
President National Education Association

I hope the descriptions of the Montessori, etc. other schools in this
letter are more accurate than this one of the modern homeschooling
movement. Great scott!, everyone surf over to and
determine yourselves if this Homeschooling definition describes Puget
Sound Community School which is a cyberschool operating under the
homeschooling laws of the State of Washington.

The fact is you ain't seen nothing yet, at least I hope not.

Unfortunately I observe that because there are so many new forms of
homeschooling that a reaction is starting to occur. Serious efforts are
evidenced in the state legislators to roll back the freedoms(actually I
believe the most dangerous threats are from vouchers, charter schools,
and the homeschooling services provided by a growing number of public
schools, and proposed money payments to the homeschooling families from
state governments, but that is a separate thread on probably another
discussion list) we have had for about ten years.

For a few short years parents and their children have had the legal
freedom to live and learn in and from the village(oft times the entire
WORLD village) rather than locked away with a bunch of other
locked-away-children in some school. It is up to us to assure that
they still have that freedom 10 years from now. Dale