Re: discuss-sudbury-model Re: Educational Reform

Robin Martin (roses9@IDT.NET)
Wed, 20 May 1998 11:17:55 -0500


I enjoyed reading your response--especially got a good laugh out your
descriptions of how SVS-model schools don't fit any particular life-style

However, when I posed those questions, I guess I wasn't thinking of SVS as
a stand-alone movement in education, but as part of a larger movement which
includes many other independent democratic & free schools world-wide, as
well as unschooling and other movements within alternative education toward
giving learners greater power & responsibility.

Hmmm...that leads me to ponder another issue, but I think I'll hold my
tongue for now, and see what others have to say first...


At 11:33 PM 5/19/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Joe from Fairhaven School in MD.
>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).
>-Joe Jackson
>> From: Robin Martin <roses9@IDT.NET>
>> To:
>> 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
>> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
>> 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