RE: DSM: diplomas

Joseph Moore (
Tue, 13 Jul 1999 15:13:21 -0700

It's great that Sudbury makes a diploma mean something to the student and

However, I consider it a benefit of the model that, unlike public and most
private schools, no emphasis is placed on creating a paper trail of
certificates of conformity and official approval, which is what diplomas and
degrees end up being. Instead, kids learn to become themselves via learning
to choose what to do with themselves each day. They need conform only to
themselves and to the behavioral norms of the community they find themselves

A lot of public education is designed to train kids into becoming
economically interchangable 'human resources' worth X number of dollars per
year. To this end, a willingness to conform and a toleration of boredom
become the distinguishing characteristics of 'successful' students, as it is
of many 'successful' people in many corporations. The Sudbury model spares
our kids this horror.

When I give informational talks, a lot of parents can't get past our lack of
accreditation, even though fully accredited schools in our neck of the woods
(California) crank out maladjusted, unhappy kids by the busload. They can't
get past our staff's lack of teaching creditials, even though 5 minutes
spent with any of them would convince most people that they are the kind of
adults a reasonable parent would be happy to have her kids arround.

Sure, there's a wide highway to what might be called success through
officially sanctioned education - get good grades, go to a good college,
maybe get a masters, and you can make a good salary so that you can spend
lots of money trying to plug the emptiness caused by not having a clue as to
who you are or what you want.

Sorry for the rant - despite diplomas having been rehabilitated at SVS, I
find the general lack of interest in conforming to expectations of what a
school is a crucial positive thing.

Joseph Moore

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