DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] Re: Very original

Thu, 20 Apr 2000 22:22:44 -0400

The following new message has been posted on SVS Discussion Board at


   MESSAGE: (#123) Re: Very original
   AUTHOR: Scott David Gra <sdavid@tiac.net>
   DATE: Thursday, 20 April 2000, at 10:22 p.m.

   Reply To: (#122) Very original
   Author: Me
   Date: Thursday, 20 April 2000, at 8:20 p.m.

: "These people are nuts..." That's what some of the techers at my
: school would say about sudbury. But really this idea is very original.

I don't know how "original" the idea is. The founders of Sudbury Valley are
brave people, and have a deep understanding of human nature. But, at it's
heart, the Sudbury Valley's pedagogical philosophy is an old one, and a
negative one. The school simply says that, if you let people alone they will
hear what they need and do what they need to become full members of the
culture around them.

The Efe, Bushmen, and Aboriginal people's of the world understand this -- they
don't have "school." We, as a culture, never had compulsory and widespread
school until last century.

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have gotten along just fine without
school -- relying on children to enjoy each other's company and the wider
community. It was always understood that people can figure out what they need
to know by observing those around them. The notion that one must be seated in
a classroom in order to learn something is a NEW concept. Horace Mann (the
person who proposed truancy laws and state schools in Massachusetts) came up
with an "original" idea -- and it was a bad and broken idea. Sudbury Valley is
not experimental, school is experimental -- and school is a failing

: How do your kids succeed in the college process?

The same way anyone else does. Sudbury Valley alumni have years of experience
disciplining themselves to do what needs to be done -- without having to be
held by the hand and guided by well-meaning teachers who above all teach the
lesson "you are not responsible for your education, we are." In college, and
even more so in the job market, people need to realize that they have to do,
and do it for themselves. People from Sudbury Valley have been doing it for
themselves all along -- it's easy for them.

I still wonder how someone used to a traditional school environment can stand
an environment (like college) where nobody is doing any hand-holding. It's
testimony to the strength of the human spirit that people somehow learn
DESPITE school. The fact that people learn is most emphatically not BECAUSE of
school -- we've been successfully passing our culture on for hundreds of
thousands of years, and doing so without bloated teacher salaries, mass ennui,
school shootings, public vitriol over curricula reform, etc.

   Link: Scott's home page
   URL: <http://www.sudval.org/~sdg>


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