the right to purse excellence

Deborah Bartle (
Wed, 30 Apr 1997 11:00:34 -0700

Hello List Folk,

Since this is my first post to this list I'd like to quickly introduce
myself. I am the unschooling mother of three children 11, 9, & 3. My
children have never gone to public school. By the time my firstborn was
one year old I had read the work of John Holt and knew what I had to do.
I continued my reading and 'unschooling' and discovered Sudbury. I intend
to found a Sudbury school in my rural corner of the world here in Northern
California, just 35 miles east of Sacramento Valley School. I purchased
and studied the new school starter kit four years ago and my children have
had the pleasurable experience of a 12 month enrollment at Sacramento
Valley School.

I come to the list today with a question, possibly a FAQ, that I need to
have a rebuttal to. I recently shared the fact I am preparing to start
a new school, with my neighbor. He is a career public school administrator/
educator. He generally seems tolerant and supportive towards our unschooling
since his own daughter is homeschooling his seven grandchildren. His casual
response to my news was, "it's a real shame that the top 15% cream of the
crop students are not in public school anymore to be role models for the
unfortunate who must be there and are in most need of positive influence".
(just a note: he works in a very rough & tough district).

I have heard this same theme in different variations before. That somehow,
as citizens, we should feel obligated to work to the betterment of public
education (even though everyone knows it's broken). I know that I will be
hearing it again soon when I start publicly educating about...and now for
something completly different.

Is there an essay or article that effectivly addresses this mindset? I
understand that most will never be persuaded, but I'd like to be prepared
with an eloquent arguement. I may already have a written paper somewhere
in my library but don't know where to find it. Please point me to it if
you can or share your thoughts here if it is supportive of private