DSM: Re: discuss-sudbury-model Re: Educational Reform

Teresa Gallagher (hypercog@connix.com)
Wed, 20 May 1998 19:50:46 -0400

Joe Jackson wrote:
> 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.

One potential subject that could greatly increase the visibility of the
schools is if people were to find that kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (or
kids that the teachers want on Ritalin) do better in such settings and
don't need medication. That's a minimum of 5% of the population; up to
20% if you count all the kids who are what I call "Explorers" or the
"Edison Trait". There is a huge upheaval going on right now with ADD,
with many books and articles challenging the disorder model. Most of
these simply say our public schools are the wrong environment for these
kids. I get questions all the time from people who are desperate to
find a different kind of school for their child, who they usually
describe as being very bright, independent and energetic. Many are
gifted. If a researcher were to do a rigorous study to compare these
kids in public schools Vs. Sudbury schools, and the Sudbury schools were
better, this could have a profound effect on the schools, I think, in
terms of enrollment. Many parents of ADD children are themselves ADD
and have bad memories of public schools, so they are probably more open
to the concept. They are often very creative and open-minded people (it
goes with the ADD temperament).

I like the idea of a school which emphasizes responsibility,
independence and self discipline more than one that emphasizes freedom.
I think the words freedom and democracy really turn off the majority of
people. It instantly brings up an image of total chaos where the
teachers are out of control and the kids don't learn anything. Whether
the image is correct or not is beside the point.


"The mind is not a vessel to be filled
but a fire to be lighted." - Plutarc