Allan Saugstad (asaugstad@vsb.bc.ca)
Wed, 08 Nov 2000 14:36:14 -0800


I am a new contributor and am enjoying the discussions greatly.

I am a vice-principal in a public elementary school, a pretty ordinary one.

I completely agree with the sudbury model, and may soon open my own "sudbury" school
for my own two kids. However, I have, for now, chosen to stay in the public school
system. When I hear comments about the whole system being cruel and slave-like, of
course I must agree. I fully understand the arguments and can take that step back to
see the system for what it is.

However, public schools are not going to disappear anytime soon. Most parents need and
want them. That is a fact. Even if most were given a new, more enlightened model, they
wouldn't accept it. So, how do I live with myself? Even though I am a benevolent
slave-owner, I keep working to increase the freedom of my students. I help teachers
see that there is often a better way. Even more often, I help students see that there
are more choices and opportunities out there in the world than their families ever
told them about. For many of our students, school is a haven, a place where, for once
in their life, they will be listened to and not abused. I once heard a speech by a
principal from Harlem who said that the role of the principal was to "break down the
barriers that people put on children". This is a strange idea, as the system itself is
so limiting, but I guess it's a matter of degrees and perspective.

So let's not abandon the whole public school system. There are too many kids and too
many families that would be left out in the cold if we just closed them all down.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Nov 09 2000 - 19:57:27 EST