Re[4]: DSM: The Value of the Sudbury Model

From: David Rovner (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 08:13:19 EDT

Dear Scott David Gray,

You must be joking: About 1/5th of one percent of the School's
funding_is_from government sources?

Is that all you get?

Still, I am sorry, but I can not misrepresent anyone but myself
because -- for the time being -- I DON'T REPRESENT ANYONE
BUT MYSELF. That helps to be in a position to judge objectively
-- NO strings attached.

I wrote:
>> I understand Sudbury Valley School is proud of existing 33 years
>> by now, with NO government financial support whatsoever.
First of all, I said "I understand" -- meaning that I am not one hundred
percent sure of it, because I don't get daily updates from you (SVS), if at all.
Second, my statement was based on Chapter 17, The Library, page 87-88,
Free at Last, The Sudbury Valley School, and I quote:

            "Of course, sometimes we buy books, when somebody needs titles
       we don't have. Then they become a special expenditure.
            One day in the mid-'70s, we got a letter in the mail from the State
       Education Department. In it was a check. It turned out that Uncle Sam,
       in one of his munificent attempts to aid education, had decided to give
       out money to schools all over the country to buy books. I guess Congress
       figured that books were a good thing and that schools would be better if
       there were more books on the shelves. The publishers, I am sure, did not
       oppose the idea.
             At any rate, here was our manna from heaven, whether we needed it
       or not. Our first inclination was to send it back, but that didn't make
       sense. "Don't look a gift horse . . ." So we used it to help the School
       Meeting defray special expenditure requests for books. Presidents come
       and go. Politics swing left and right, back and forth. The checks keep

I suppose the sentence: "Our first inclination was to send it back",
referring to the government's check that was sent to you -- has some
significance. Still, personally, I would be proud to NOT being financed by
the government, and I think, for many good reasons that are lengthy to
elaborate here, SVS is better of without government financial support.

Maybe Sudbury Valley has not taken explicitly and officially
"the very_political_ stand of rejecting government grants on moral
grounds", still, I am sure that in the background there is SOME
"lurking" moral ground in each one of us -- as it is fit or maybe I
should say, inevitable.

Would you say that "NO strings attached" is not a political stand?
Would you say that "NO strings attached" is not a moral issue?

I am again sorry to contradict you.You know that on the way to the final
aim/objective/target, it is not infrequent that people make compromises "IN
ORDER TO SURVIVE". This doesn't mean that, on the long run, you don't
stick to your principles: You certainly may have collegial relationships with
anyone you wish -- that doesn't make you better or worse -- or maybe it does.
I suppose a school may be publicly funded and still be "Democratic".

Finally, I understand that you mean, that you, as an individual, can
support democratic schools and be part of one, yet, in your private
life advocate Statist Ideology that doesn't protect Individual Rights?

I suppose this could also be possible, considering that (e.g. financing
in) a school is somewhat different compared to (e.g. the economy of)
a nation.

David Rovner, Haifa, Israel

---------- Original Message ----------

>From: Scott Gray <>
>Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 02:44:00 -0400 (EDT)
>Subject: Re: Re[2]: DSM: The Value of the Sudbury Model


>Scott Gray from the Sudbury Valley School here.

>I think that you are misrepresenting the Sudbury Valley School.

>Sudbury Valley actually does receive two _very_ small government grants
>(the Eisenhower Grant for about $600 per year for teacher training -- we
>spend it on first aid / cpr training, and the Title VI grant for computer
>equipment for about $1000 per year). So, in fact, about 1/5th of one
>percent of the School's funding _is_ from government sources.

>Sudbury Valley is very pleased that it takes no grants from any source
>that have any strings attached. However, the school itself has not taken
>the very _political_ stand of rejecting government grants on moral
>grounds. SVS is very pleased to advertise (on its web page) its collegial
>relationship with the Blue Mountain Sudbury school in Oregon -- Blue
>Mountain is publicly funded.

>On Tue, 17 Apr 2001, David Rovner wrote:

>> Alan . . .
>> education is NOT a community responsibility, and should NOT be
>> paid for through taxes.
>> Education is a PARENTS RESPONSIBILITY, and should be
>> paid for by parents -- If YOU want to help them, you will not be
>> stopped.
>> A society cannot decide everything it wants -- there is a limit to
>> intervention, and the limit is INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
>> I suggest we should try and stop governments paternalistic approach . . .
>> I understand Sudbury Valley School is proud of existing 33 years
>> by now, with NO government financial support whatsoever.
>> David Rovner, Haifa, Israel
>> ---------- Original Message ----------
>> >To: <>
>> >From: "Alan Klein" <>
>> >Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 08:58:05 -0400
>> >Subject: Re: DSM: The Value of the Sudbury Model
>> >David,
>> >Marko said, "I would want our school to be government funded, so that
>> >everybody regardless of their economic status could take advantage of the
>> >model."
>> >You responded, "Marko, evidently you are guided by the statist ideology".
>> >What a leap! What he said was that he did not want individuals to have to
>> >come up with the tuition (on top of taxes they pay) for the schooling they
>> >want. Is your belief system one that holds that anything other than strict
>> >anarchic-Libertarianism is Statism? If so, then I understand your response.
>> >If not, then I submit that all he is saying is that, if a society decides
>> >that education is a community responsibility that should be paid for through
>> >taxes, then democratic schools should be allowed to be part of that system.
>> >~Alan Klein

>--Scott David Gray
>reply to:
>As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual
>certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human
>life -- so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an
>archbishop so you can meet girls.

>-- Matt Cartmill

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