Re: Gender Equality

Sheri Ponzi (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 07:41:01 -0400

Coby Smolens wrote:
> Dear Sheri,
> The philosophy which Sudbury schools share has its basis in the
> conviction that trusting people to pursue their own interests, to be
> responsible for their own destinies is self-fulfilling prophesy. In a
> culture where this is the living norm -- that I trust you to know what
> is right for you, whether you are male. female, older, younger, brown,
> pale, whatever -- people will grow into the fullest, most powerful
> expression of who they are and find the deepest fullfilment in their
> particular place on the planet.
> The operative words here are trust, trust and more trust. In the school
> our kids will attend there is no room for fear -- that they will grow up
> this way instead of that way, or that way instead of this. In the school
> we are building there isn't a lot of room for -ism's or -ist's, at least
> not if those suffixes are part of an agenda which is to be superimposed
> on the minds of others.

Yes, of course. I really believe that Sudbury is all of these things.
I LOVE the model. What cancerns me is that we aren't just products of
the school. We live in the world at large where women and girls are
valued less and ttend to think less of themselves in general and this
transleates into their feeling less entitles to share in opportunities.
My concern was that this would somehow also come into the Sudbury
schools. I was just wondering if anyone had actually looked into
whether this atmosphere really overcomes the outside social forces. I
think it may have the potential too, but I'm curious.

> This is not to say that I am not allowed my own opinions within the
> context of the community -- I would not be a fully functional member of
> the social order if I couldn't share my views, and passionately! But the
> point at which I begin (with the highest intentons) to attempt to
> control the way _you_ see the world, out of my passionate belief in the
> rightness of my views, is the point at which ( I hope) my job as a staff
> person in the school I am working toward is up for some SERIOUS review.

Well, I would hope that no one would be doing this of course. I am very
passionate about my view, but I understand and believe that people need
to come to their own reality etc. But I wonder if the teachers there
are aware of what tends to happen in school in terms of gender and would
actively try their best not to encourage the boys more etc. The thing
is that all teachers, when asked, swear they DON'T do this, but
objectively looking at them in action showa that they do.

I would never advocate that we force any agenda on the students, but if
the point of Sudnury model is to free al students I think it really does
need to focus on both genders equally. I think this can be done without
indoctrinating the students. Does this make sense?


> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
> ... We don't need no education,
> ... We don't need no thought control,
> ... No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
> ... Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!
> Pink Floyd, the Wall



If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

"The greatest sin of our time is not the few who have destroyed, but the vast majority who've sat idly by." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"If we are to reach real peace in this world we shall have to begin with the children." -Ghandi