Re: DSM: Interest increasing?

Heidi Barker (
Wed, 3 Jan 2001 23:12:33 -0900

Hello all,
    I certainly appreciate any and all talk about starting a school. Cindy
K asked Lisa to email her directly to tell her about the Canadian
experience. Couldn't you have your discussion here so we could listen in
and learn too? Seems to me the experiences of others is one of the best
places to start such an endeavor as starting a school. The clearinghouse of
contact information for people starting a school sounds useful, but how
about a forum where those with experience can impart advice to those who are
earlier in the process?
    What is the Blue Mountain School in Oregon? Is it a charter school that
gets funds from the state, but still can be a SVS-type school? That's very
interesting to me, because charter schools and state money redistributed to
homeschoolers are happening alternative school options in my state, Alaska.
"Lovely little loophole," indeed. By the way, anybody out there an Alaskan
interested in the SVS model?
    Karen, about being thought insane. Don't you feel comforted when this
pronouncement crops up? I don't ever feel like my thoughts on children,
education, healthcare and the like are on the right track unless they are
non-mainstream. What an insighful comment about adults being jealous of
kids in democratic schools! I know I've spent some time wishing I had been
treated to such a school.
    Your comment, Malc, about emphasis being on consolidating communities,
rather than starting new schools is truly forward-thinking, but that sort of
changing-the-world seems so much more a daunting task than starting a
SVS-type school. So, thanks for making starting a school sound like the
simpler of two undertakings! But, of course, the comment about "moving to
an area with a school and finding a new home and/or job being easier than
starting a school" puts the magnitude of the task of starting a school back
into perspective.
    About the question of finding like-minded people, I think media coverage
is helpful here. There are perhaps a certain number of people out there who
are "ripe" for these ideas, they just need to hear about them. Thanks,
Mothering Magazine, for putting them out from time to time. I read their
article about democratic schools in the most recent issue and I'm off and
running. The idea struck a chord, I was ready for it without having any
idea I was ready for it.
    Cathy from Boulder, you ask how to get in contact with others who are
interested. Could you get the local paper to do an article on this odd
democratic school model idea, then mention an open discussion of the idea at
a certain time at a public place? Can you call up even one other person you
think might be interested and ask them if they are and if they know of at
least one other who might be and so on and get a list going that way? This
is where it would be handy to hear how other groups generated interest in
their areas.
    Cathy, do you know there's a democratic school in the Denver area? Have
you gone to visit yet? I'd love to visit a school, it's just that for us
it's two hours by car, then five by plane to get to the nearest one, in
Heidi Barker

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