DSM: attracting relatively free kids to a Sudbury school


Ben Robins (ben_robins@hotmail.com)
Mon, 26 Mar 2001 06:20:43


Hi folks,

As kids gain more freedom, I wonder if Sudbury schools will gain or lose
popularity. One question I have is this:

Will many kids with non-coercive parents be attracted to Sudbury schools?

Here's my take:

Sudbury schools offer many things, including...

1) an equal say in controlling the space

2) a day-to-day community of unintrusive, non-judgemental people (meaning
people who have no desire to judge how you should spend your time, beyond
not bothering others)

3) many resources, including staff and other students with self-initiative
and self-regulation

Kids in non-coercive families have 1) as much as Sudbury kids do.

Same with 2), although the community is likely to be smaller (namely the
family, and maybe some friends, and you'd have to see non-coercive parents
in action to decide if they truly are non-judgemental).

As for 3), kids in non-coercive families have many resources available in
their home and in their home town. Plus with no school attendance
requirement and no fixed tuition costs, they have more flexibility for using
those resources. This is the reason given to me by non-coercive parents as
to why they didn't think their kids would choose a Sudbury school.

My conclusion is that to attract kids with non-coercive parents (and more
generally, kids with a relatively large amount of freedom), Sudbury schools
would have to gain resources by growing larger.

This conclusion is testable. For example, has a Sudbury school that has
grown significantly (say from 60 students to 210 students) noticed a more
positive response from relatively free kids?

Since all Sudbury schools are trying to grow larger anyway (as far as I
know), this issue I've brought up has little importance for today. However,
as child freedom increases, it's nice to understand the forces that will
effect Sudbury schools.

Ben
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