Re: DSM: I Quit!

Tammy Inman (
Thu, 29 Mar 2001 09:19:03 -0500

I am still skeptical that true reform can ever occur in public schools.
Public education reform seems to occur in a cyclical nature.
For example:
1. Ms X thinks of an innovative reform
2. Everyone laughs at Ms. X.
3. Through perserverance Ms. X convinces others that her idea has merit.
4. Threatened by the change proposed by Ms. X's idea, the teacher's union
officially opposes it.
5. Despite the massive propaganda put out by the union, Ms X is still able
to convince others that her idea has merit. However, she is told that there
is no money to implement her idea.
6. Ms. X finds someone high in the district pecking order to support her
idea and finally gets funding.
6. In order to actually receive the funding Ms. X must be willing to change
several key aspects of her reform, and think of a way it can be
quantitatively measured.
7. Ms. X must show immediate positive results or her reform will be
declared a failure and funding will cease.
8. Even if she can show positive results, her supporter in the district
will be replaced with someone new. In order to prevent the predecessor from
receiving any further credit, the new administrator will cancel any programs
he/she had sponsored. Ms. X will lose her funding. Ms. Y will now receive
funding for her idea.

My point is that maybe it is possible to make school reforms, but it is rare
for them to take the form you originally envisioned and it is even rarer for
them to last.

At one point I even toyed with the idea of creating a charter school based
on the Sudbury model. However, I have the feeling that during the process
of getting it approved it would change to the antithesis of SVS.


>From: John Axtell <>
>Subject: Re: DSM: I Quit!
>Date: 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
>position at.
>PBS just aired a good series on effective Public schools. You might want to
>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
>us what their interest is and what they want to do about it, do it, and
>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
>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
>walls, we can meet in many different buildings in four different cities and
>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
>with which to reach decisions - we allow choice within the school by
>magnet schools within the Academy and within a magnet school Interest
>( much like the corporation of some SV model schools). Each element can
>how to govern themselves - democratic, republic, dictatorship and market
>program offerings.
>So I am not suggesting that what I am doing is right for you, just
>you that there is diversity within the public school system and, yes you
>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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