DSM: Greetings from another Student Run School-reply to Joe Jackson

Jonathan Cender (jkecender@yahoo.com)
Sat, 14 Oct 2000 13:49:53 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Comments by a Sudbury person about MSAL and
Joe Jackson wrote:

> Some questions, which I will ask in the spirit of
learning, that
> being the most direct and skeptical way possible:
> 1) I get the impression you are a small group, and
that most of your
interests lie in
> fairly common areas. But if a MSAL student appears
wanting to study
> that nobody else is into, how does the school handle

Charles Champion writes:

We generally cheer them on. It is not necessary to
have a group in order to
learn about something. Much of the learning I
accomplish is by individual
study. I do sometimes wish more people were
interested in some of the less
popular areas of study which I have been involved in
lately, but until I find
more people interested in such things, I must press on

Joe Jackson wrote:

> Since the school's resources (study groups and
projects) spring forth
> from the interests of the student_s_, are there
essentially no school
> available for that person?

Charles Champion writes:
MSAL does not have any resources in the sense of
tangible property owned by a
corporate entity. MSAL is a group of people, not a
corporation. The people
in the group have resources that they own
individually. There are several
corporations which were either created by student
projects or became owned by
MSAL students as a result of student projects, but
those corporations are not
owned by the school, really. You could say the
students themselves, their
knowledge, skills and interactions are a sort of
resource. That becomes
clearer if you have ever had a problem and posted a
message about it to the
appropriate Study Group. It is really amazing how
rapidly you can get a
useful answer to questions on a vast array of subjects
simply by posting the
question to a relevant MSAL Study Group.

I expect that soon there will be substantial financial
resources available to
student projects from both investors and at least one
organization. But even when this happens, these
resources will be controlled
by individual MSAL students, not by the school as a
whole. It may seem
rather anarchic, but it is definitely

Joe Jackson wrote:

> 2) It seems like your operation incurs profit/loss
from time to time.

Charles Champion writes:

I'm not sure what gave you that idea, perhaps you were
reading about some
student project which experienced a profit or loss.
The school itself has
never in its history owned anything. It has never had
any income nor ever
spent or held any money. That might change someday,
but so far that's how it
has worked.

Joe Jackson wrote:

> Profit and loss normally implies governance; a
corporation, treasurer and
> the like. How is that handled in your group - are
you a non-profit corp.?

Charles Champion writes:

As I said before, MSAL is not a corporation at this
point and never has been.
It has been suggested recently that it should be
incorporated as a
non-profit corporation, but so far we have not done

Joe Jackson wrote:

> 3) Why is Charles Champion's picture so
messianically centered at the
> top of the MSAL what.htm page? Is Charles in
Charge? ;)

> -Joe Jackson from Fairhaven School in Upper Malboro,
> Maryland

Charles Champion writes:

Well, I've heard of the TV show called "Charles in
Charge" which you are
undoubtedly alluding to, but I've never seen it, so
it's not easy for me to
respond with some clever witticism about it.

The reason my picture is on that page is that when I
created the first MSAL
web site, I wanted to have at least one picture or
graphic on each page so it
wouldn't be just boring-looking text. I was putting
in various pictures and
there were still no pictures on most of the pages. I
thought that picture
might be appropriate. I also hoped that the picture
of me in a suit and tie
might make the school seem slightly less radical to
those who might be
inclined to criticize it. Some of the other pictures
I used have been
replaced or deleted by various revisions by the
current webmaster, but
apparently he kept that one. Anyway, I hadn't thought
of it as being
"messianical," but I see your point. Now I'm
wondering if it should be
replaced. Have you got some other picture we could
put there? It would have
been the ideal place to put a picture of our campus...
if we had a campus.

If you meant to literally ask if I have some authority
at MSAL, I suppose I
do have the authority to control who uses the name of
the school and for
what. But that's about all. The whole school is set
up so as to have no
authority of the sort found in traditional schools, I
think you will find
that not only is Charles not in Charge, but no one is
in charge at MSAL. Or
more accurately, each student is in charge of his or
her own activities and
learning. It's good practice for being in charge of
your own life.

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