What is the core of traditional schools? I love the definition of
Sudbury Valley, given here on this list by the person who had looked and
looked and finally saw a SM model school and exclaimed "thank God there is
something else". Precisely. Sudbury Valley is something else. So what is the
essence of these other schools? What do they have that Sudbury Valley doesn't?
Well, believe it or not, when you boil traditional schools down, down to
the nub, you get a Charter School. In sanctioning Charter Schools, the state
legislature gives up all notions that it or anyone knows how to teach or
educate. It gives up all notions on methods. The only notion it holds on to,
is the notion of results. It cares not how one gets from A to B. The Charter
only has to show progress from A to B. And of course it only has to show this
progress on the only thing that matters: student achievement. How is it that
this one simple little thing contains the whole of the core of traditional
Because it is definitional.
First, they get to define the student. The student is ignorant and that
pre-test better show it too. They get to start out with an ignorant student
and a test to proove it. Then, at a suitable time later, they get a post test
that shows improvement. They get to define the student again. The student is
now an improver. And they have a test to proove that too. If they get in that
close with that much defintional power, the game is over. They have created a
So when and why did the ignorances of children become so much more
threatening to us than the ignorances of anyone else?
"Thank God there is something else". Moment by moment, do nothing. And we
will see clearly that the child is not an improver. Be present. And we will
see them construct their lives.
Doing Nothing : Steven Harrison
The Art of Doing Nothing : Hanna Greenburg
Start Where You Are: Pema Choldron
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