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

Rick Stansberger (
Tue, 14 Nov 2000 16:45:28 -0700

> Genuine question for you, Rick -- What does it mean to participate in a
> system which one openly acknowledges is 'screwed'?

It was painful, Kristin, as you might expect. And ultimately it was
insupportable, once I saw an alternative. You'd be surprised, though, what
people can put up with if they find no way out. Even when I was convinced that
the system couldn't be reformed, I could not turn my back on those faces I saw
watching me from the desks.

> How do you think
> students interpret that behavior?

I know how students interpreted my behavior. They freely told me. I taught
mosly high school seniors, and by that time, most of them understood that in any
job you have to put up with negatives because of the positives.

Nobody ever accused me of not caring about kids -- they knew why I was there. I
taught in a private school where the salary averaged $10,000 less a year than in
public school, and where we didn't have job security or tenure, so nobody
accused me of being in it for the money. And with something like 180+ students
as a regular classroom teacher (not to mention another 100-200 in study hall), I
was never accused of having an easy job. At worst they thought I was crazy,
especially since I could have taught in college. At best I was given thanks,
friendship, loyalty and support by students and their parents.

> I am afraid that the message is that the
> system itself is inescapable.

For most of us the system IS inescapable, except for the few hundred kids who've
gone through SVM schools, and the 2-3% of the total kid population who
homeschool. If every governmental entity disappeared tomorrow, and every school
building, people would re-build schools from scratch using the factory paradigm,
because that's the only idea 90% of them know. The Sudbury Model has a long way
to go before it's even commonly known, let alone accepted.


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