Re: DSM: Graduates without essential life skills

From: william van horn (
Date: Thu Nov 22 2001 - 12:59:51 EST

This is great Peter. May I add one more for the feedback from those that
have more experience with SVS?

Enough critical thinking skills to be able to make relatively independent
and intelligent decisions. (And please don't complain what traditional
public schools provide: I know they do not provide this.)


On Thu, 22 Nov 2001 11:41:55 -0500, wrote:

> Let me begin by saying I am extremely pro-Sudbury model schools. I have
> read five of the SVS Press books (including one with interviews and
> studies of graduates) and I do not need any convincing. I have visited
> multiple Sudbury model schools and loved each one of them. I have even
> lectured to a local senior group about the phenomenon called Sudbury
> Valley School and democratic models of education.
> My wife, on the other hand, is far less convinced and she has brought up
> an interesting question: do graduates of Sudbury schools have the
> essential skills to thrive as an adult in our society?
> IMHO, essential skills are minimally:
> - Reading at a level that permits following directions (e.g. recipes,
> prescriptions), reading contracts (e.g. leases), and generally
> interacting with the world at large without having to request the help
> of another person to read for you.
> - Writing at a level that fulfills the minimal needs of an adult such as
> signing contracts, writing a simple note.
> - Enough math to use money and determine whether you are paying a fair
> price for goods and services.
> - Sufficient social skills to interact with other adults on a level
> expected by people one must come into contact with in order to provide
> for basic needs such as food, shelter, and employment.
> For me, to "thrive as an adult" means to have the skills to find your
> happiness while maintaining satisfying fulfillment of physical needs.
> There are several discussions that may ensue here such as:
> - What exactly are essential skills?
> - What does it really mean to thrive?
> - Does it matter if they have been in a Sudbury model school since
> before minimal reading/writing/math skills were acquired?
> - Why would this question be more interesting with regard to Sudbury
> model schools rather than traditional schools?
> I am not concerned with the exact answers to those questions. I am
> really more interested in a getting a feel for whether there is an
> interesting number of cases where graduates were not prepared to meet
> the world with at least similar skills to those from a traditional
> education. I firmly believe the answer is that other than a few
> exceptional cases, all graduates have had the essential skills and much
> more, but I would really like to hear from staff and parents in the
> field who have had the real world experience.
> Peter Shier
> Seattle, Washington

William M. Van Horn

Send a friend your Buddy Card and stay in contact always with Excite Messenger


If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please send an email TO (do NOT reply to the mailing list) with the following
phrase in the BODY (not the subject) of the message, replacing
"email@host.dom" with the email address that you subscribed under:

unsubscribe discuss-sudbury-model email@host.dom

If you are interested in the subject, but the volume of mail sent is too much,
you may wish to consider unsubscribing from this list and subscribing to

This mailing list is archived at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Wed Mar 27 2002 - 19:39:48 EST