I personally think if the Sudbury model ever becomes more than a cult
movement in education, it's going to take a long time. The only way it
wouldn't be a very slow evolution is if there were some sudden catalystic
lynchpin in history where a Sudbury school was suddenly thrust into the
national spotlight in an unusually prominent way.
If the slower evolution happens, I think it will be because more SM schools
pop up gradually in various areas of the country, with each adding a
certain degree of name recognition of the Sudbury Model in each respective
region (much as what happened with Montessori schools). At that point it
would be a question of the socials dynamics of our culture swinging in the
right directions at the same time for there to be a meaningful exodus to
Sudbury schools. As for right now, I find that in talking to prospective
parents about the school, people either don't get it or are completely
obsessed with it - there aren't that many in between (I was an in-betweener
at first). However, I don't really see a pattern in the gung-ho people
with regard to lifestyle other than they're people who really think about
things in depth.
I think we sometimes do the Model a disservice by implicitly associating it
with a particular lifestyle. I personally think that the Model is as well
suited to conservative, heterosexual, Rush-Limbaugh-listening,
business-suit-wearing tobacco lobbyists as it is to long-haired, vegan,
patchouli-oil-wearing, Peter-Paul-and-Mary-listening NPR reporters (The
characters in this sentence are entirely fictitutous. Any resemblence
towards anyone living or dead is purely coincidental). Our society is very
sensitive to images, and any image the public gets that associates the
model with a certain lifestyle gives the school an unfavorable public image
with regard to diversity.
I tend not to think of the model as being about freedom. When parents in
PR events ask about it I say that the Sudbury Model is about
responsibility. Conventional schools are about coddling. The SM is the
anti-coddle. The people that are behind all of this back-to-basics
bullshit in public education are ultimately trying to get kids to be
responsible -- these same people may, in the end, be the ones who bring the
SM into the mainstream. I think it's clearly up to us to envision the
model as something that can address every parent's needs (and I say parents
because they make the choices of where to send their kids).
> From: Robin Martin <roses9@IDT.NET>
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: discuss-sudbury-model Re: Educational Reform
> Date: Tuesday, May 19, 1998 9:04 PM
> At 12:42 PM 5/19/98 -0700, Dale quoted an editorial that read:
> >What’s needed are clearer guidelines for
> >teachers and administrators, fewer loopholes for individual students,
> >less unnecessary coddling. It is the only way the test can evolve into a
> >true measure of learning.
> Oh my, opinions like this make me ill at times! I'll refrain from the
> sarcastic comments that first popped into my head as I read
> instead to refocus my energy to hopefully more constructive
> As free schooling models like Sudbury evolve within the larger context of
> education & society, how do we even begin to communicate with people
> ways of thinking about school are in a completely different world or
> paradigm from our own?? Or, do we not even try, and just go for
> interacting with those people who are already wanting to create a
> life-style & approach to learning? Is there ANY common ground to be
> between the testing & measuring mentality and the more holistic &
> for freedom ways of thinking??? If not, we can only envision that more &
> more voices for freedom ring out as legislation gets passed & decisions
> made on the state of educational reform in this country & beyond.
> Pondering from Iowa,
> Robin Martin
> Coordinator & Co-Creator of
> The Center for Inspired Learning
> "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
> Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
> --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe