DSM: Mimsy's "Nervous" explained

From: Alexander / Michiru Streater (uigui@oregano.ocn.ne.jp)
Date: Thu May 17 2001 - 09:29:41 EDT

>WHAT: Who says, where and when, that "SVS is better off without the
>'nervous'." What in the heck does that even mean? We are better off
>kids who are not interested, or are not able, to control their behavior
>socially. That is all. No supervision is still no supervision. But
>'nervous'? Isn't that most everyone?

OOmmph ! Back on track. The needs of the children is the prioity.

But Mimsy,

The dialogue appears below, and is in better context. I think the situation
is refering to, is where the schoolis quite new, and in view of your recent
post to
Cindy, one that you can actually sympathise. All refered posts below.

Best regards

Alexander Streater

first post.

 On Behalf Of Alexander /
Michiru Streater
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 9:16 PM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
Subject: DSM: On Hybrid schools . . . Our Trojon Horse?

Dear Bill,
> Mimsy Sadofsky, in one of the tapes, fields the question as to whether
> could be a hybrid school, a school between what Sudbury Valley is and
what a
> traditional school is. My best answer is that no, they are really two
> different things (the 2d and the 3d). They are orthogonal.

A hybrid school. Is this one where:

a) some of the kids that attend belong to the "free" part of it while
        the other half of the kids attend lessons as normal (and look out
        of the window to see the others wasting their time on the grass
        while they settle back into their chairs comfortable in the
        knowledge that they will certainly "make it")

b) A regular school that provides more choice to it's students about
        what they do during the day


I think we can all agree that the first is un-workable.

But the second case I give a resounding Y-E-S . . . with provissions,
the main one being that the school allows itself to move further in
the direction (of, say, freedom, or back to traditional learning) as the
system evolves and shows itself to be workable.

Free schools frighten many people simply because they have no
idea how it can all work. Having a "all or nothing", "take it or leave it"
approach does nothing to bring the nervous on board.

A sliding approach needs to be provided. Interestingly enough, it is my
observation that the more extreme and regimented a school is, the
more easily, smoothly and successfully the school can be "converted"

Alexander Streater

Message to fellow teachers

Children learn inspite of us, not because of us!

Second post

Sam in SactoVS here -

"Free schools frighten many people simply because they have no
idea how it can all work. Having a "all or nothing", "take it or leave it"
approach does nothing to bring the nervous on board."

To me this is a good thing and exactly the point! We in Sacramento have had
more than our share of "nervous" on board, and after all is said and done
they almost always leave. And usually it is not a plesant experience. On
the other hand, those who buy the "all or nothing", "take it or leave it" of
our philosophy stick around and are contributing members of the community.

Hybrids do not work. A Sudbury school is what it is, and parts-swapping
creates something that is not a Sudbury school. "A regular school that
provides more choice to it's students about what they do during the day" is
not a Sudbury School. You can call it a hybrid Sudbury if you want, but is
more like a prison that offers McDonalds in addition to the regular dinner
fare. It may offer more choice, but still is not freedom by any stretch of
the imagination.

"A sliding approach needs to be provided." You can offer Taco Bell next
year or possibly two or three kinds of toothpaste the year after, but for
all that sliding you still don't have freedom, just a few more choices.

Do the smooth and successful conversion of the more extreme and regimented
schools, but don't tinker with creating the missing link, because there is


third post

Mimsy's Post

Dear Cindy,

I apologize for my ignorance about some of what may have gone on in the last
week or so on the list. My email program is not being a loyal friend these
days! But I do know one thing: people in your tiny initial startup group of
5 who are negative (your word) will make it harder for you to get a school
started, not easier. Jettison them. Figure out what you think are criteria
for founder's group members, and make sure the desire to create a particular
type of school (think seriously, and in detail here) is a largely important
criterion. Hangers-on can sap your energy and kill the vitality of the two
people who know what they want. You don't have to be democratic now -- you
and the other person (or both if it comes to that) who know what you want
just walk away. Also, is there some money something going on here? Like a
small fee to be in this illustrious group in order to keep it going? That
usually gets rid of people who are hanging on for some obscure social or
psychological reason only they can begin to know, but are not really
interested in the same enterprise as you. Now it is yours; make sure you
what you want!



Alexander Streater

Message to fellow teachers (and parents):

Children learn in spite of us, not because of us!


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