Re: DSM: Sharing the SVS model

Rick Stansberger (
Sat, 11 Nov 2000 09:26:18 -0700

Interesting stuff. I didn't know much about the economics behind the voucher
movement. Still, "quality survives in the marketplace," and I think sudschools
can survive if only because they're more efficient. If you apply corporate think
to education, you will get the updated version of the industrial school: the
cubical - office school instead of the factory school. It's still top-down and
bureaucratic, and it still ain't how humans learn. i wouldn't worry. Sudschools
can win on efficiency. Their weakness, though, is testing, but I suspect that
post-school tests (SAT, ACT, GED, and the military service tests) could suffice.
The kids mostly have to take them anyway, no? Sudschools can hold firm on not
testing within the schools simply on the grounds that testing interferes with
development and the kids aren't "done" yet. In the fight of
my-data-versus-your-data, sudschools will have data, and so even if they don't get
public funding, they can at least resist being shut down.


"Ben B. Day" wrote:

> On Wed, 8 Nov 2000 wrote:
> > I don't
> > care for the public school system. I never have. Generally, I find it quite
> > oppressive.
> Just a quick note, since I've seen this recur several times in the last
> batch of messages here. I would say that, in general, private schools are
> much more oppressive than public schools. The for-profit charter school
> movement scares me much more than public schools ever have. If public
> schools seem to be getting more oppressive (a la the MCAS), it's probably
> because the corporate lobby for vouchers and charter schools controls the
> Massachusetts Board of Education (thanks to the Weld administration) and
> they don't like public education either (but for different reasons than
> SVS junkies - public schools are stealing their market).
> Remember, education constitutes 10 percent of the U.S. economy, but only 1
> percent of the stock market. The most important change to happen in the
> politics of education over the last decade is that investors and
> corporations have set their sites on education as the new "emerging
> market" (as third world countries are sometimes referred to), which
> promises to be very profitable, at the great expense of what
> remaining freedoms and liberties students and their families currently
> enjoy.
> It would be a great folly to fail to recognize this sea change in the
> political climate surrounding education. Policy makers in education have
> been replaced with high-level corporate executives. The Board of Trustees
> running the University of Massachusetts system - whose Boston campus I
> currently attend - is composed of the President and CEO of Citizens Bank
> Boston, the Vice President and Director of Corporate Affairs of
> FleetBoston Financial, the Executive Vice President of Frontier Capital
> Management, the President of Borden and Remington Corporation, an attorney
> for Foley, Hoag & Elliot, the senior partner of Karam Insurance Agency,
> Weld's former chief fund-raiser (before he withdrew during a conflict of
> interest scandal between his political and business associations), and
> many other exemplars of civic virtue.
> A move towards privatization in education will NOT lead to more radical
> (i.e. SVS-style) educational settings or schooling methodologies. A quick
> glance at the money behind the privatization lobby should be enough to
> assure one of this. I think, furthermore, that it would be disastrous for
> the survival (much less expansion) of SVS-style private schools, which
> would suddenly appear as competition in a liberalized education market.
> For-profit schools would have the distinct advantage in this competition
> of their avid proponents holding all of the seats on state-level
> policy-making bodies.
> If there's one reason to be grateful for the relatively small scale of
> SVS's presence at the state and national level, it's that we seem to slip
> beneath the radar screen of the for-profit lobby. Think of the mentality
> that produced the MCAS test - a test which approximately 85% of black and
> latino students in Boston failed last year (which would prevent them from
> graduating by 2003, when the MCAS requirement goes into effect) - and ask
> yourselves what they'd think about Sudbury Valley schools. The MCAS was
> pushed through based on the justification that its contents must be
> mastered before a student can reasonably expect to go on to college or a
> high-school level job. The MCAS contains questions like "What spirit is
> expressed in Mayo Angelo's poem 'Why does the caged bird sing?'" - many
> public schools are so underfunded that they don't even HAVE Mayo Angelo
> books. The single greatest threat to the survival of SVS schools is the
> repopulation of education boards with corporate interests, instead of the
> parents, teachers, and community leaders who once determined policy.
> ----Ben

"Life is too important to be taken seriously."  Oscar Wilde

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