Re: DSM: I Quit!

John Axtell (
Wed, 28 Mar 2001 14:15:41 -0800

Dear Tammy,

To thy own self be true. Take heart, follow your heart.

Having said that let me give you a word of encouragement.

Causing reform to happen within the public school system is possible and is
being done. There are a number of excellent models to look at and apply for a
position at.

PBS just aired a good series on effective Public schools. You might want to go
to their web site and read some of the interviews.

I am currently involved in an alternative public school that certainly is no SV
model school but actually allows students far more freedom than found in any SV
model school. The school is run as a dictatorship but allows students great
freedom and holds them accountable for very little, basically they have to tell
us what their interest is and what they want to do about it, do it, and then
tell us they did it so we can document that it was done.

What I am doing is not important. What I want to say is that find the right
spot and you can pretty much do what you want if you just learn how to dance.
In my mind it is no different than the dance you have to do to start up and
fund a SV model school just different steps.

While we do not have a physical building to meet in, we are an Academy without
walls, we can meet in many different buildings in four different cities and we
can use the democratic model if we choose or some other model to reach
decisions that affect the Academy, students are not constrained into one model
with which to reach decisions - we allow choice within the school by enabling
magnet schools within the Academy and within a magnet school Interest Clusters
( much like the corporation of some SV model schools). Each element can choose
how to govern themselves - democratic, republic, dictatorship and market their
program offerings.

So I am not suggesting that what I am doing is right for you, just encouraging
you that there is diversity within the public school system and, yes you may
have to move from where you live, but there are public schools that empower
students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Yours in Encouragement,

John Axtell

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