Currently at Fairhaven the debate regarding the issuance of a diploma
has come up again.
In general, much of the debate surrounds the meaning of "diploma", and
whether the word means anything other than the American English
dictionary definition or the words on the diploma itself.
The feeling of some folks within our assembly is that the word "diploma"
automatically implies that there is an evaluative process underlying the
awarding of it, since the document itself confers upon the student the
blessing and recommendation of the school.
Others feel that while many classical institutions base the awarding of
a diploma on an evaluative process, that the essential definition of the
word is "a document issued to a student by a school upon the completion
of a series of studies at a school" and there is flexibility within the
word "diploma" that does not preclude it from describing a document that
is *not* based on evaluation.
My questions to this list today are the following:
1) Do you believe the word diploma automatically implies an underlying
evaluation of the student?
2) If so, what has influenced your understanding of the definition of
the word "diploma" to bring you to think the word implies that a student
with a diploma from an institution was tested in order to receive it?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
> Ardeshir Mehta, N.D.
> Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2001 8:44 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: DSM: The homeschool curriculum
> Hi all,
> Scott David Gray wrote:
> > ...A glimpse at a defense for a diploma in this context: I
> think that
> > many who believe that it is OK for a Sudbury school to offer a
> > diploma, feel that the reason it is OK is because the
> school neither
> > endorses nor objects to the idea of a student seeking a
> diploma; that
> > letting people choose whether or not to use the diploma
> procedure is
> > no more offensive than letting people choose whether or not to use
> > the photolab. I admit that I am not quite convinced by this
> > argument, but the position is not unreasonable.
> True enough. But the question is, WHO awards this diploma?
> If it is the Sudbury school itself, then I think it is NOT
> reasonable. If, on the other hand, any student wants to pass
> an examination for a diploma awarded by some OTHER
> institution, like, say, Harvard University (if they do award
> any such thing), then it may be okay.
> When I was in school in India in the late 'fifties, the
> school itself did not award a graduation diploma. But there
> was a choice of two diplomas: one was awarded by a quasi-
> governmental body in India, and the other was a diploma
> awarded by Cambridge University of England. I opted for the
> latter. It was called the "Cambridge School Leaving
> Certificate". Students of ANY school could take this exam.
> The papers were set and marked in England, and the examiners
> did not even know who the students were: the only criterion
> was the quality of the answers. This, I think, would be okay
> even for students of a Sudbury school who wanted to have a
> diploma after leaving school.
> When I was in Israel, however, in the late 'sixties and early
> 'seventies, some of the kibbutz high schools did NOT award
> any diploma. In fact, many kibbutzniks even went on to study
> at the university, but as a matter of principle refused to
> sit for the final exam. They would have got excellent grades
> if they had written the exams, but they did not want the
> indignity of a tail behind their name. They only wanted the
> knowledge. (It is for this reason that I sometimes sign my
> name "Ardeshir Mehta, N.D." -- the "N.D." standing for "No Degrees.")
> Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>
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