Re: DSM: 60 Minutes Piece

From: Susan Jarquin (jarquin@pacbell.net)
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 10:32:20 EDT


Hi all, :-)

I thought the 60 minutes episode was good. I went back and watched it again
pausing and taking notes and it seems that they did get a lot of facts in about
the school. It would be a pretty dopey interview if there wasn't some sort of
opposition. I think that the so call expert was actually beneficial to Sudbury
Model Schools everywhere. There's no way in the world I'd drop my kids off at
her house.

The smoking did bother me. Afterward, I told my husband that I wished they
didn't show the smoking. His response was that in a traditional school those
kids would be hiding somewhere anyway. So What? Out of curiosity, do people in

Massachusetts still smoke in public? In Southern California the adults are
hiding in the bathroom also.

I was sort of offended when Safer made reference to the "So Called" Judicial
Commitee.

I do have a question for someone that works or goes to a Sudbury School. In the

segment they stated that a lot of learning does occur and that a majority of it
is one on one. Is this true?

At this point, I'm thinking that there were a couple of statements made that a
person would have to NOT BELIEVE in order to be involved with a Sudbury Model
School.

1. (Thernstrom)(sp.?) These children are to young to know what their passions
will be later in life. They need a rigorous grounding in the fundamentals of
knowledge and exposure to great literature, to science, to math and then they
figure out where they fit in the world.

2. (Thernstrom)(sp.?) That parent is basically saying, It's just as enriching
to play video games as it is to read Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn. That's a ludicrous

statement.

3. (Safer) Well, a kid doesn't have to learn, to spend his time in a focused
way playing cards or video games or fishing. They are what many people would
regard as temptations that distract them from really more productive and
interesting things to do.

I will be having an informational meeting in Los Angeles, California on May
14th, 2001. I am trying to get a group together to open a school in this area.
If anyone is interested in attending, please contact me.

Thanks,
Susan Jarquin
Mother of Three Girls
Sunland, California

Mitch Berg wrote:

> I have seen almost no discussion of the "60 Minutes" piece on Sudbury last
> Sunday. So I'll toss out my observations.
>
> Background: I'm a former reporter and producer. I have strong opinions on
> news coverage - and while 60 Minutes is certainly not bound to present
> pro-Sudbury propaganda, I would have liked to see more balance. I'm also NOT
> involved in a Sudbury school at the moment, although if anyone from the Twin
> Cities is reading this, please contact me!
>
> I thought this piece was generally very unfavorable to Sudbury. In
> corresponding offline with another member of this list earlier, the
> impression I got was that the piece emphasized the elements of Sudbury that
> people in traditional schools would find the most "freakish" - the lack of
> formal structure, the constant reiteration of themes like "relaxation"
> (while not touching on themes like "self-direction" or "individual
> responsibility"). The School Meeting and the Judicial Committee were
> touched on only trivially, and the actual achievements (as I understand
> them) of Sudbury students were all but overlooked. The place was made to
> look like a permissive hippie commune school. I realize that's probably not
> a real black mark to some of you - work with me, here.
>
> The sight of kids smoking outside the school couldn't help but shock most
> "traditional" parents.
>
> Morley Safer interviewed a panel of parents; are any of those parents on
> this list? I'd be interested in hearing what parts of that panel interview
> got left on the cutting room floor (as it were). I felt the parents came
> across especially badly (speaking of overall effect, not personally) in the
> interview.
>
> Upsides: I thought Dan Greenberg came across head, shoulders and ankles
> better than the woman from the Massachusetts Dept. of Education, who seemed
> like a fussbudgety apparatchik who left gaping holes just begging to be
> called out.
>
> And the 11-year-old girl (don't recall the name) was also very impressive.
> She came across like a very poised high school senior (Dad was a speech
> teacher, I was in broadcast - I value and closely criticize these things).
>
> This is sort of a grab bag of first impressions of the piece. I'm
> interested in what the rest of you think.
>
> Mitch Berg
> Saint Paul
>
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