Re: DSM: troubles at PacVillage

From: william van horn (
Date: Sun May 27 2001 - 10:21:01 EDT

Just as an introduction: I am currently going for my teacher certificate in
Arkansas for secondary school art. I am also substituting in local schools,
in every subject they offer. I was introduced to the SVS model just this
year, stumbling across it during some web surfing.

When I was in a traditional public JRHS (late 60Õs) I read OÕNeillÕs book on
Summerhill. It made me feel cheated by the schools I had been attending.
Although I couldnÕt articulate it at the time, what most attracted me was
the respect the students got from the school. This respect seems inherent
in Summerhill and SVS just because they listen to the student and allow him
to make his own decisions. As all of you know, there is very little of this
in public schools. The system itself does not allow it.

I can see that SVS is an ideal situation for many students. But what of the
students who are not ready for complete responsibility, who would be lost in
that situation because of all the "learning" they went through, to follow
othersÕ rules, in public school or in their families? It seems that the
people on this site involved with SVS just dismiss them back to the pit of
public schools. "They donÕt *fit in* with us, so away with them!"

Some kids need some initial direction or encouragement to get started, to
become aware that they can have the freedom to make their own choices, and
that those choices are special to them and because of that, worthy of
pursuit. If we truly respect the individual we will recognize this need and
respond to it. If this canÕt be done at SVS, where can it happen? Its
unlikely to happen at public schools. What IÕm hearing on this list is that
it is SVS or nothing. Everything else is less than SVS. I donÕt see how
that is showing respect for students as individuals. You're saying the
"system" of SVS is more important than the needs of the kids.

William Van Horn

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