DSM: Re: Questions about Sudbury Valley School

Samuel Atwood (wierdo@sudval.org)
Mon, 17 Apr 2000 13:45:51 -0400

When I visited California about (no, wait, exactly) a year ago, I was
very disappointed to find out that both Sudbury schools in California
are in fact closer to san Francisco. Me and my family wanted to pay one
of them a visit, but we didn't really have a chance. It would be great
if one started up in or near L.A., so the best of luck...
Scott Gray wrote:
> IRA WEST <ijkwest@earthlink.net> sent this to the list. It was bounced
> because, sometimes, our anti-spamming efforts prevent legitimate users
> from posting. (Ira, do you want me to add the "ijkwest@earthlink.net"
> address to the list?)
> --Scott David Gray
> reply to: sdg@sudval.org
> http://www.sudval.org/~sdg
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 00:41:27 -0400
> From: IRA WEST <ijkwest@earthlink.net>
> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> Subject: Questions about Sudbury Valley School
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> Hello,
> I am interested in exploring the possibility of organizing a Sudbury
> Valley-style school in Los Angeles County, and a few questions come
> immediately to mind:
> * How do you find like-minded individuals efficiently, without
> spending a ton of money on outreach? Seems there is only a limited
> amount of networking and schmoozing you can do in the circles you
> know.
> * Is this viable in an urban/suburban setting? In Massachusetts, you
> have acres and acres of land, a pond, woods, etc., which I bet was
> acquired fairly cheaply back in the '60s. In LA County, land is
> quite expensive, and probably impossible to obtain unless donated.
> Would rental of a large house do?
> * In the same vein, I would worry about the ramifications in an urban
> environment of allowing four-year-olds to roam at will. What
> happens when the police pick up a kid for truancy? Even if the
> parents agree that it's ok to wander around, I can imagine the bad
> press when people start screaming about irresponsibility and
> danger...and call to shut down the school. What strategies do you
> use?
> * Finally, the essay about teachers letting go certainly struck a
> chord. Having taught in the public schools for years, I've always
> thought (a la John Gatto) that I was putting on a show, with too
> little involvement from the kids. And I could see the dangers of
> forcing new concepts on kids who weren't ready (from veganism to
> sustainability...and then being called an "ecofreak"). But it's
> nonetheless true, I think, that kids need to be aware that these
> ideas are out there, and that certain adults are well versed in a
> subject and available to help. And if an adult is passionate about
> that subject, it will come out anyway. At school, for instance,
> whether I'm supposed to be teaching history or government or
> English, I basically teach what I'm interested in at the moment,
> whether it's feminism, deep ecology, voluntary simplicity, or the
> benefits of a plant-based diet...none of which come under the
> heading of an approved class. So my question is, how much would I
> have to submerge myself...or would I? After all, kids want to find
> out about what's out there, and why people become activists, and
> they love to engage in debate as a way of understanding the world.
> Thanks for your help!
> Ira West
> ijkwest@earthlink.net
> 1220 Moncado Drive
> Glendale, CA 91207

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