Re: DSM: DSM advice

From: Gayle Remisch (tegdib@yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 16:53:26 EST


Hi Victoria,

I wish I had seen this post. I've been so busy I have only now had the
opportunity to check back on the emails to this list.

I'm Gayle in London and I operate Banyan Tree School out of my home,
for many of the reasons and problems you mention.

Banyan Tree was Started in 1983 by a woman here locally who was a
homeschooler with the support and assistance of the Ministry of
Education who - at that time - were positive towards umbrella private
schools for homeschoolers. The winds of change have, unsurprisingly
changed and now we are the bain of the ministries exhistance. There
are 8 schools who have been omitted from the Ministry lists even though
we comply with all the requirements of the education Act. I have 23
students 5 of whom attend at my home each day. They are self directed
and we follow a Democratic path.

I would really love to sit down and discuss all the stuff you guys have
been through, I've been headbutting with the past 4 Provincial School
Attendance Counsellors and Jim Sebastian currently included. He wrote
me this year after I filed my N.O.I. to tell me that as a "new school"
I hadn't provided the $275 fee and therefore did not meet the criteria
to be placed on the list, # of students notwithstanding. I argued that
Banyan Tree was not a new school and therefore, was not required to pay
this fee which is... a new fee. The Fee is new, not us.

Anyway, Albert Lubberts of the Ontario Federation of Independent
Schools is wonderful and has asked me to put my school up on against
the system and take the issue to court, officially accusing the
Ministry of descrimination against our types of alternative schools.
Jim has not taken us to court for opperating an illegal private school,
because he knows he would loose when the evidence is shown, instead he
just makes life as difficult as possible for us to operate. As I said,
we are but one of 8 other schools who have been omitted from the list
because we are not the 'usual' private schools.

Please feel free to email me privately, however I think our issues
-being very similar - might be of interest to those on the list.

Our group of 5 who come every day have many issues about the meetings.
THey feel that they are irrelevant and they prefer to deal with things
thier own ways. Sometimes we end up not having meetings because there
are really no issues to discuss apart from the calendar. We've had our
share of personality clashes however, and those are a separate thread
completely.

my phone is 519-433-3756
and my email is info@learnfree.ca

I'd love to chat, and I've invited Warren to come for a Radio interview
about these type of alternative schools.

hope to hear from you soon.

Gayle

--- Vserda@cs.com wrote:
> Dear friends,
> I would like to ask for advice and encouragement. Warren, who has
> been a
> member of your group for some time, and I have started a school at
> the Sauble
> Beach Community Centre in an area of Ontario with a very small
> population.
> The site we had rented nearer a more populated city fell through two
> weeks
> before school was to start in September. We had to quickly find a
> location
> that was up to the government guidelines, and the only possibility
> within 30
> miles was the present location. The school is modeled as close as
> possible to
> SVS.
> We are having a huge problem with only five students being
> enrolled. The
> government won't register us as a school because there needs to be
> five
> children 6 or over, and my daughter is 5. The interactions between
> the
> children and the JC, with such a small number, quickly became
> personal
> affronts and 'payback'. Although we have had frequent discussions
> with the
> children suggesting other ways of dealing with problems, and trying
> to impart
> understanding of the model, we still have had some major blowups and
> threats
> of three children to leave the school. This wouldn't be such a
> problem if we
> had more students, but with five, when one is absent the running of
> the
> school is compromised.
> We have another situation that has been hard to deal with. Out of the
> five
> children at the school, one of the parents, me, has paid the yearly
> tuition;
> two of the children are from one family who pays monthly; the other
> two have
> not paid anything yet. And somehow, the one family with two children
> is
> trying to use their financial power to do what they want with the
> running of
> the school. For instance, we, the staff, proposed having one hundred
> dollars
> per month stipend for gas to be paid to us, since we are volunteering
> this
> year since there are not enough students to pay staff. These parents
> balked
> at the idea, saying that their money is being paid to go toward their
>
> children's education, etc. and I should not be given any money for
> gas since
> my daughter is a student and I would have to drive her anyway, and I
> only
> have to drive there and back, and their family has to drive twice,
> etc.
> We felt that they were really unappreciative of our efforts, and
> think they
> are undermining many of the things we are trying to accomplish at the
> school.
> We have felt really disheartened by the way things are going, but are
> trying
> to keep on, since we both believe so fully in the ideal. It is hard
> to
> continue to defend our position against such strong opposition.
> Has anyone else had experience trying to start a small school like
> this? I
> am wondering if it is worth it to start a school without a permanent
> location, or with such small numbers of students. Our advertising
> (newspaper
> ads, radio interview, postering) attempts have been largely
> unsuccessful, and
> we have only had one new family express interest in the school since
> September. Neither of the staff have the funds available to buy a
> property
> without enough tuition money to support the running of the school. It
> seems
> that no one is interested in sending their children to a school that
> is
> impermanent, since they are worried about them having a hard time
> going into
> another system after so much freedom, unless they do not have another
>
> acceptable option. People in this area also have not been exposed to
> many
> different kinds of schools, especially not democratic ones. The
> people here
> are not progressive, and authoritarian methods are not questioned
> usually.
> Thanks for any responses in advance.
> Victoria
>
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