DSM: RE: Graduates without essential life skills

From: Scott David Gray (sdg@sudval.org)
Date: Thu Nov 22 2001 - 16:14:26 EST

"Amanda Phillips" <amanda42@rcn.com> sent this to the list.
It was bounced because, sometimes, our anti-spamming efforts
prevent legitimate users from posting. (Amanda: write back
to me, to straighten out your account(s) on this list)

--Scott David Gray
reply to: sdg@sudval.org

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 14:20:10 -0500 From: "Amanda Phillips" <amanda42@rcn.com> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org Subject: RE: Graduates without essential life skills

I'm not an SVS graduate, but I taught myself all of those things you have listed without the assistance of a traditional school. Although I am a “high school dropout,” I scored 1580 on my SATs and now teach SAT prep courses for fun. I also have taught myself Accounting and am now an Accounting Manager over a group of six Accountants for a publicly-traded company.

My 5 year old taught herself to read when she was 4 because she was curious. She learned math via computer games because they’re fun. She composes and prints notes to me on her computer. Most importantly, she has learned the joy of independence and self-direction. She has never attended a public school, and she has more 'life skills' than many adults I know.

I intend to enroll her in SVS as soon as I am able. (I’m currently looking for houses in Framingham.)

Amanda http://www.liberty5-3000.com <http://www.liberty5-3000.com/>

-----Original Message----- From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org [mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org]On Behalf Of Peter Shier Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2001 11:42 AM To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org Subject: DSM: Graduates without essential life skills

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 USA


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