Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

The Booroobin Sudbury School (
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 08:10:23 +1000

Hi Ben,
At Booroobin, we're not exclusive. Before the school commenced, we decided
on a policy to maintain affordable fees. We calculated our fees on what a
sole parent receiving government benefits could afford to pay, and have held
our fees there since. In Australia, though, the government more equitably
shares its tax revenues and also pays money at varying levels to independent
Schools per capita (but at about a third of what they pour into state-run
Schools). Some would say our fees are exceedingly low, to retain
accessability. And I have come to agree. Some people believe that only low
cost (individually, out of their pocket) education in State-run Schools is
the only option. While we retain accessability, Staff don't get paid. And
only so much money is available to be invested in resources. In any
business, unless you have inherited money or have earned it in some other
way, you do need to keep the net income in the business in order to grow the
business in its early years. We will start to pay very low wages again
early in the next school year. To be Staff, you do really need commitment
and dedication to the Sudbury principles and philosophy. To a great extent,
that's why parents continue to invest their time and energy in SVM Schools.
They see the greatest benefit, and the rewards, by witnessing real growth in
their Student children.
Regards, Derek
The Booroobin Sudbury School
Ph/fax +61 07 5499 9944
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ben B. Day" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 6:13 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

> Oh, come now people, these are all very poor responses to a reasonable
> question. Firstly, the students who most need the benefits of education
> (however unfree) don't go to democratic schools, because they can't AFFORD
> THEM. Educational requirements are used in the labor market as a means of
> discrimination against those who can't afford their costs (whether direct
> or opportunity costs). Until we can change the labor market (a much more
> daunting task), we can only help students to meet whatever arbitrary
> hurdles are placed in the path towards escaping poverty, wage-slavery,
> etc.
> It seems to me to be frequently forgotten that most students at SVM
> schools have at least some form of financial cushions, whihc allows them
> much more "freedom" both in their choice of education and their subsequent
> choice of career and lifestyle. Not surprisingly then, minorities - who
> are overrepresented in low-income families, haven't enjoyed the benefits
> of democratic schooling.
> For us to tell public school teachers that they are complicit in
> undemocratic and unfree education, and that they should bail ship if they
> truly believe in democracy and freedom, is to tell them to abandon all of
> the children who don't have the privilege of alternative, private
> schooling, and who need to do "well" (by whatever miserable standards) to
> have any chance of reasonable living conditions when they leave school.
> Furthermore, we seem to be forgetting that the labor market for TEACHERS
> is not looking so hot these days. Today, about HALF of all teaching jobs
> are part-time or contingent, which means they probably don't include
> health or benefits and pay less than full-timers get for the same work.
> Many part-timers are forced to work at multiple schools and simply can't
> afford health care. In such a situation, teachers themselves enjoy very
> little liberty in choosing where they teach... unless, again, they enjoy
> some financial cushion granting them that leniency. The SVS hiring
> structure is also highly discriminatory against potential staff members in
> need of a steady job paying a living wage. Most staff members have to
> attend SVS without pay for some time before being considered by the school
> meeting for hire - this is necessary for the school community to get to
> know the person they'll be voting on. After they have done this (which
> requires either leisure time or a working schedule with sufficient free
> time in it), they are usually hired at first only on a part-time basis,
> for one or two days a week. SVS is, of course, much better in this respect
> than other schools since part-timers who stick with the community
> eventually DO get more days and hours (there's almost no upward mobility
> in the academic labor market - you get hired out of college either as a
> part-timer or a full-timer, and you remain there, or you get knocked down
> from full-time to part-time status).
> I think it's extremely unfair to devalue the work done by consciencious
> teachers in traditional schools, doing the best that they can within the
> constraints given to them by their employers. The dominance of unfree
> schooling is more of a political than a pedagogical problem, and it won't
> be solved by swaying the pedagogical sensibilities of teachers - it will
> be solved by changing the administrative and political bodies (and/or
> the power structures they make decisions within) that enjoy the last word
> on what kind of schooling is "correct" and can pull the plug on funding
> for projects not meeting their criteria.
> ----Ben
> On Fri, 4 Jan 1980, The Highland School wrote:
> > In response to dropping out/striking public school: sure! come put your
> > blood, sweat and tears into a democratic school - there are many to
> > choose from. I wish there were many more. Candy Landvoigt

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