DSM: RE: religious school = more military like?

Joseph Moore (joseph@ivorycc.com)
Fri, 16 Jul 1999 08:57:23 -0700

Sharon wrote:

> Just a note - religious schools are by not means all in the
> 'strict Catholic' mold. Take a good look at any of the private
> Quaker schools, which, although not as liberal as democratic
> schools are quite leftist.
Point well taken - I was generalizing right out of bounds.

> Can anyone speak to the question of how much control various states
> have over private schools? Doubtless it varies greatly. Here in
> Massachussetts, I believe there is relatively little control, if any.
> (With the exception of schools for 'special needs' children which must
> meet some standards in regards to funding concerns.)
Good question. My impression in California is that mere attendance is
required to call yourself a school, but that for accreditation, lesson
plans, test scores, etc. are needed.
Somebody else here probably knows for sure.

In my question, I was thinking of 'accreditation' as a sort of short hand
for the whole public school model - age-based grades, formal classes with a
strict teacher-learner structure, de-emphasis on learning, big emphasis on
conforming. Accreditation is a tool of the people that manage this model. It
seems to me that seeking accreditation is in some sense buying into this
whole scheme - am I wrong? (Aren't those Sudbury model schools that try to
get accredited trying to 'beat the system' in some sense? Surely in the
sense of casual public perception?)

Anyway, looking at accreditation this way, I wonder why people who aren't
supposedly aligned with the interests of the state - I was thinking
religious people as an obvious example - would want their schools to conform
to the state's model. Maybe it's one of those complicated historical things:
the Quakers in Sharon's counter-example have always stood against the power
of the state, so their schools are set up that way as well, while Catholics,
as a bunch of immigrants outsiders in this country, wanted desperately to
fit in, so that they become more structured than thou. Idle speculation now,
but it would be interesting to know...

(I wish I were succinct like Mimsy!)

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