RE: DSM: What if....? about re-entry

From: SRF (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 01:36:42 EST

>-----Original Message-----
>[]On Behalf Of Scott David
>Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 12:10 AM
>Subject: Re: DSM: What if....? about re-entry
> People who have been in traditional schools for many years
>from a young age are used to thinking of school as "the way
>it is done." Nontheless, some (only a few, and usually with
>understanding families) find it in their hearts to refuse to
>buy into it.
> You are suggesting that, having had an outside perspective
>and seeing that things _don't_ have to be done that way, a
>kid is less likely to buy into it.
> I think that you're probably _right_ that fewer kids who
>"re-enter" traditional school buy into it than those who
>were in traditional school for most of their young lives.
>Certainly, when I re-entered traditional school (i.e.
>college), I found it _very_ easy to take the whole archaic
>system with a grain of salt.
> So I guess that I'd turn the question back on you. If you
>are forced to spend most of your young life in a prison,
>aren't you a little better off if you have had an
>opportunity to step back from it a bit and see the prison
>for what it is? Won't it be easier for you to get for
>yourself what you need, when you have faced the fact that
>following _their_ curricula is not the be-all and end-all of
>life? You make it sound like it is _bad_ for a prisoner to
>lose her/his vulnerability to authoritarian pressures -- and
>I don't agree with your assumption.
> Like it or not, every person's education _is_ in her/his
>own hands. Letting young people remember that, by loosening
>the screws for even a little while, seems to me to be a very
>valuable lesson. Much more valuable than _anything_ that
>could be gained by "catching or keeping up" with an
>arbitrary authority's idea of what you should know.
> That said, what may be even _more_ tragic than
>uninterrupted life in traditional school is when it remains
>feasible for a family to continue to send a child to a
>Sudbury school, but the child's parents _choose_ to pull
>back the trust from their kids. Certainly if this had
>happened to _me_ growing up, I would have felt betrayed by
>my parents -- and that could never be healthy.
> However, if the school simply becomes out of _reach_ (as
>you describe), I cannot imagine it creating more problems in
>the home or for the child than remaining in traditional
>school would create.
>--Scott David Gray
>reply to:
>I like to believe that people in the long run are going to
>do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I
>think that people want peace so much that one of these days
>governments had better get out of the way and let them have
>-- Dwight D. Eisenhower


I absolutely don't think it is bad for anyone, at any age, to lose her/his
vulnerability to authoritarian pressure! That's not what I meant to say. And
I agree that the sm experience gives the kids a big head start on taking
responsibility for their own learning.

I realize now that something you have said gets right to the heart of our
worries. When she is in her classroom, our 10 year old _doesn't_ know how to
get for herself what she needs. (That's the problem! And it is what makes
the sudbury model so interesting to us.) I was imagining a return to
traditional schools without that skill in mind. I understand what you are
saying about being outside for even a short while. You are better able to
take what you can use from the system and disregard much of the rest.
Especially when you have gained trust in your own ability to make choices
and pursue goals/interests.

I agree that "pulling back the trust from their kids", whether by taking
them out of a self-determined learning environment or in any other way, is
devastating to kids. Of course, it is devastating for anybody, isn't it? I
know how I've felt when I've lost the trust of someone who is important to

But assuming that is not what happens. That it becomes 'out of reach'... the
school closes, or we move away. And that what you've described... that
coming from the sudbury model the kids are more able to get for themselves
what they need. And assuming that they handle reasonably well all of the
wrenching changes that come with moving to an unfamiliar place. What then
actually happens? Have you, or anyone else on the list, spoken with any
students &/or parents afterward? Did the traditional school attempt to
evaluate the student's accomplishments? Did the student have any significant
trouble? Did the parents have significant trouble? When the student is at a
much different place in their learning than their peers in a traditional
setting, what happens? Is this really a non-issue, one that parents and
children should not even consider as part of the decision to withdraw from
traditional schooling? I have to admit, I'm not as concerned about it as I
was before. It makes sense to me that they'd be in better shape than if they
hadn't had the sm experience.

I hope we never have to face this. We'd like to be able to enroll in a
sudbury model school and stay there. Life just isn't that predictable. Not
our lives, anyway. Not right now.

Sally  ......._/)

That's a great Eisenhower quote!


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