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

Kristin Harkness (
Sun, 12 Nov 2000 11:50:15 -0500

Kathleen wrote:

>In a message dated 11/10/00 9:50:56 AM Mountain Standard Time,
> writes:
><< Your class
> may be a more pleasant class to be forced to attend than some other class,
> but that does not make it a microcosm of the Sudbury model. >>
>Not once have I said that my classrom was a "microcosm" of the Sudbury
>It couldn't be further away from the model. I merely give the people I'm
>with during the day respect and freedom. That is the Sudbury Model. I've
>heard a lot of fancy words and phrases. Who understands the model, who
>doesn't? But for myself, the bottom line is always this: Sudbury is not
>about education, it's about the freedom of children. Is it that difficult
>understand that there are people out here who respect children who don't
>in a Sudbury school? If we left respecting children to such a minority,
>would be tragic. Respecting children is my job as a person, not an
>In fact, it's everyon's job.

Perhaps you object to the word microcosm? In which case, I take it back. I
was referring to your statement in an earlier post "I implement the model in
my classrooms". I do not see how this is possible. And now you say above
"[my classroom] couldn't be further away from the model". Which you then
turn around and rebut two sentences later saying "That is the Sudbury
Model". You state that you give your students respect and freedom. Can you
give them the freedom not to attend? Can you respect them enough to refuse
to grade them? I accept that you give your students respect and freedom to
the extent that you are able. However, given the constraints of the system
in which you work, that cannot possibly approach the "Sudbury model".

><< How can you "implement the model" in the presence of a curriculum? >>
>Easy. It sits there collecting dust.

Are you, as a teacher, not 'held accountable' to that curriculum in some
way? How does the school measure whether you have 'taught' it to you
students? Do you test your students on the material? Are they required to
do homework or other assignments? Do they receive a grade in your class?

><< In an even more basic way, "taking attendance" is a symbol of the
>lack of freedom to choose to be in that place at that time. >>
>Any Sudbury school I know of takes attendance Kristin. The people sign in
>and out.
>They are required to attend a certain amount of time there.

True, due to truancy laws. However, signing in once at the beginning of the
day, and signing out once at the end, and being free to be wherever one
likes on campus for the rest of the day, is a far cry from the kind of
attendance which monitors which room one is in at any given moment for the
purpose of ensuring that one is in the required room.

If it is not already apparent, I believe that we will get change through
revolution, not reform. I further believe that people of good intent
continuing to participate in the system only prolongs its existence.
Refusing to participate is revolutionary -- look at what Gandhi was able to
achieve with passive resistance. You asked this list if you should quit.
My answer to you is yes.

Kristin Harkness

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