Re: DSM: Interest increasing?

Dana Matthew Bennis (
Sat, 6 Jan 2001 00:23:56 -0500 (EST)

On Sat, 6 Jan 2001, The Booroobin Sudbury School wrote:

> Hi Dana, and others,
> There are already groupings of Schools with vaguely similar philosophies,
> but with the exception of Sudbury Valley model Schools, most are not
> democratic. IDEC, the "International Democratic Education Conference" is
> held annually and is hosted by a School somewhere in the world, and brings
> together a large range of Schools. There is also the principally US based
> NAACS, the National Association of Alternative Community Schools, which also
> meets annually, usually in the US.
> Regards, Derek
> The Booroobin Sudbury School

Thanks Derek.

Also, there is the international Alternative Education Resource
Organization (AERO).

(and its actually NCACS, National Coalition of . . . )

Many of the schools involved in these organizations are not as democratic,
but they do share many thoughts regarding schooling and children. Lets
please concentrate on the similarities among all these schools, not the
differences. I too disagree with some of Summerhill's practices,
especially the subtle pressure for kids to attend classes. But
there are a VAST amount of practices at Summerhill that are also a part of
Sudbury. The same goes for so many of the alternative schools out there.

I don't want to preach, I just keep reading through email after email of
people pointing out the differences in schools and not highlighting the
similarities and using those to help spread the idea of democratic


> Ph/fax +61 07 5499 9944
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dana Matthew Bennis" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2001 3:25 AM
> Subject: RE: DSM: Interest increasing?
> > Joe wrote:
> >
> > "I'm interested, since the only real constants of the model is that the
> > students and staff see to the day-to-day governance, and that learning is
> > student-led (two concepts you are in harmony with), why aren't you
> > starting
> > a Sudbury School?
> >
> > "I understand the flexibility you seek, but since that very flexibility is
> > inherent in the model, why would you choose to differentiate yourself from
> > the range of existing SM schools, with all of their varying governance
> > styles and judicial systems?"
> >
> >
> > Joe and others,
> >
> > Aren't the goals of Sudbury to increase this wonderful democractic and
> > student-centered "education" throughout the country and throughout the
> > world? So that the most kids as possible (or all kids, to be idealist)
> > can have the incredible experience of being part of this type of
> > community? That is my goal, and I believe it is also the goal of most
> > people involved with Sudbury schools (correct me if I am wrong). In
> > which case, wouldn't a great way to accomplish this goal be to establish
> > communication between all schools with similar philosophies and goals, and
> > to recognize their efforts to establish a place where, as you described
> > Sudbury schools Joe, "the students and staff see to the day-to-day
> > governance, and that learning is student-led." There are many such
> > schools out there - schools which developed before or after Sudbury, and
> > which did not necessarily know about Sudbury when they were founded.
> > Should their decision not to affiliate themselves with Sudbury imply that
> > the school is antithetical to the Sudbury model?
> >
> > It seems that Sudbury is limiting its efforts to increase the
> > communication between democractic schools and the amount of democractic
> > schools to only those schools which call themselves Sudbury model schools.
> > What about establishing communication with other schools which have the
> > same philosophies? - sharing ideas, having conferences, pooling
> > everyone's minds to come up with the best ways to increase the chance
> > of all kids having the opportunity to be a part of a democractic
> > student-centered school.
> >
> > I believe that Sudbury schools are absolutely wonderful places for
> > children (and staff too!). And the success and spreading of the Sudbury
> > idea is extremely important to the spread of democractic education.
> > Especially because of this reason, if Sudbury could bond a bit more with
> > other democractic schools, and become a part of the country-wide and
> > world-wide movement for this type of education, then the spread of
> > democratic schools and the acceptance and desire for their philosophies
> > could hopefully increase at a higher rate than ever.
> >
> > With all praise and love for the Sudbury model,
> > Dana
> >
> >

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