Re: DSM: Sudbury Educational Resource Network
Sun, 2 Jan 2000 02:18:25 EST


This is Stuart from Cedarwood Sudbury School, responding to Liz's comments:

<< For instance, Kentucky Department of Education private school laws demand
that schools teach reading, writing, spellilng, grammar, history,
mathematics, and civics. They also have minimum attendance standards that
match those of public
 schools. How have other schools dealt with these kinds of restrictions? >>

At first I thought California's laws were equally strict. They require all
schools, public or private, to "offer instruction" in a long list of
subjects--including vocational ed and drivers ed as well as dozens of other
subjects. Then, Paul Manners (formerly a Sudbury school founder and staff
member) pointed out that the law doesn't say you actually have to teach
everybody all those things. You just have to make instruction available (e.g.
when requested). This is not a radical interpretation--even public schools do
not require everybody to take all the subjects that the state lists. The
moral of the story is that you should figure out if the law has broad or
ambiguous wording or loopholes that would allow a Sudbury school to operate.

>> Furthermore, a record kept of struggles schools have faced to stay open
 deal with conflict would definitely give those who are considering
 beginning a Sudbury school (like me) more confidence that we will know how
 to handle most situations that arise. >>

Sudbury Valley School Press publishes a book that recounts the founding of a
number of Sudbury schools. However, your question is broader than my answer;
I'm afraid the book you want hasn't been written. If possible, you could
visit a few Sudbury schools and get their stories. Alternatively, or in
addition, you could purchase a "school starter kit" from Sudbury Valley.
People who are actively working to start a Sudbury school (as evidenced by
their purchase of the "kit") receive a couple of invaluable perquisites: an
invitation to Sudbury Valley School's summer conference, held every other
year, and membership in the e-mail list for Sudbury school staff members and
founders. Participation in one or both of these would provide you with a lot
of valuable information.

It seems that you're saying that the proposed foundation could provide two
useful things to startup groups: information and money. Clearly most startup
groups could use more of both. It will be interesting to see how the
foundation idea evolves.

Take care,


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