RE: DSM: Anyone have tips for someone who wants to start a Sudbury school?

Joe Jackson (
Fri, 13 Oct 2000 06:49:27 -0400

Fairhaven had a pilot program called Crossroads Coop that ran for the two
years prior to our building and opening. It operated exactly as you said:
the students are homeschoolers, their parents are responsible for meeting
the state reporting requirements for homeschoolers, and it met three days a

I have, in fact, often said in Sudbury startup conversations that a pilot
program served us well in several respects, most notably that we had a
viable group of twenty students that we knew were committed going into the
first year at Fairhaven. A minimal amount of PR yielded a dozen more and we
started up in our first year with a fairly robust 32, and I believe starting
out with 32 tuition-paying students got us on the road to stability very

It also gets the students and parents together on a regular basis and gives
them a feel for the model...

I would encourage you to look into the legal route (first you need to be
turned down). There could be implications towards the violation of your
First Amendment rights of freedom of speech (if you are turned down as a
secular school) or freedom of religion (if you are turned down as a church

I believe one of our schools won a New Mexico state supreme court case
(Community School of Santa Fe vs. New Mexico Board of Education or something
like that, I don't know the year, maybe mid-nineties) in which the court
ruled that not allowing the school to operate was a direct violation of
their freedom of speech. If you talk to the ACLU you should hip them to
that precedent.

I suspect that as years go by, it will be important for Sudbury model
schools to increasingly explore using the court systems to combat the
regulatory zeal of state and local governments. An accrued body of
precedents stating that a community's desire to educate their children in
the manner they desire amounts to protected speech is possibly the most
crushingly effective weapon against crusading legislative idiots I can think

please note my new email address:
Kids rule at Fairhaven School

> At 07:36 PM 10/12/00 -0400, you wrote:
> >Maddie - Can't you apply for approval as a Tennessee private
> school through
> >the Commissioner of Education?
> >
> >I'm sure you've done the legal research, but check out
> >
> Ah... and there lies the rub... take a quick look at the approval
> agencies
> listed.(below).. notice anything??? Anything that might hinder some nice
> liberal non Christians from opening a school????
> This has also been an issue of many who home school in TN since the right
> to do so unburdened by government interference is chatteled to Christian
> rights in my state.. leaving those who are not Christian out on a very
> shaky limb. The same goes for "different" schools trying to open... our
> best chance is going to be to get my UU or other liberal facility to
> sponsor a school... apply for "Registration/Licensing/Accreditation",
> get shot down ( yep I know it will happen) and then take it to court. All
> of which is a way lot of money that none of us have. I have been
> pondering
> chatting with the ACLU about the circumstance and see what I can
> do on that
> front.... so many choices....which leads me to a question.....
> Have any of you opened something more like a "Sudbury style" learning
> center where home schoolers can gather and be in such an atmosphere while
> trying to get a "legal school" up and running??? I guess I am asking what
> you have done with your children in the mean time... for us we are home
> schooling... but do others just leave their kids in public school while
> working on this process??
> Maddie
> Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Church-related schools are required
> to meet the standards of accreditation or membership of the Tennessee
> Association of Christian Schools, the Association of Christian Schools
> International, the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools, the
> Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Tennessee
> Association of
> Non-Public Academic Schools, or a school affiliated with Accelerated
> Christian Education, Inc. Church-related schools may voluntarily seek
> approval by the State Board of Education. Tenn. Code Ann. 49-50-801.

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