Re: DSM: RE: Re: Diploma

From: Mark Ide (mide@rcn.com)
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 18:43:02 EST


Hello everyone:

Wow! I just caught up reading about 20 emails! What a wonderful discussion
thread. I'm thrilled to be included. Thank you all for your contributions.
Awesome, just awesome (especially that Ann Ide, what a sweetie!!) ;-)

I'd like to see if I can contribute to the discussion about standards from
my independent study in the field of philosophy of language. Bear with me.

In the field of philosophy of language, in "our" interpretation, human
beings are linguistic beings. They are social beings as well, and we invent
our possibilities in the language of the social communities in which we
participate. Facility in the language of a community opens possibilities for
us to effectively coordinate action with others in that community.

Communities develop standards for effectiveness in which it's participants
are judged. A standard is comprised of what needs to be observed in action,
in that specific community, or activity. For example, to play Frisbee
Freestlye with my friends and I, you have to be able to throw hyper z's. You
would have to be able to delay, pass it under your legs, do glides, spins,
body rolls and make a variety of trick catches with names like, scare crow,
gitis, phlaud, chair, lacer, etc. You could not coordinate action
effectively with me and my friends without first learning facility in the
language of our tiny community. Then you'd have to learn how to jam!

I could not say to you, "do a gitus" and expect you to know what I'm talking
about. I'd have to show you, and then you'd have to get your body to learn
how to do it. I'd have to first introduce you to the language of Freestyle,
and show you what the "standard moves" are, and coach you in how to be
effective.

Thus, learning is in the body, but competence is an assessment made by the
one's competence in the language of the community. I'd be the judge of how
successful you are in freestyle, not you. Right now, you are all
incompetent. No offense - no one is competent in all domains of life. So
what if you can't jam! I bet you can do lots of stuf I can't.

So what is success, and what does a diploma mean? I don't know. I got two,
though. I guess it means nothing in general, but that when you travel and
meet different people, in different communities, it means different things.
Thus, knowing how to learn to get along with others where ever you go seems
pretty important.

I'm well aware that the Sudbury Valley school is not teaching my kids
Freestyle, nor philosophy of language. But, if they learn to get long, and
how to learn, and respect different people instead of being afraid, and
having to "measure up" through competition, or domination, I think, (and
hope,) they will find the world a lot easier to succeed in, as the world, in
my opinion, needs more people who know how to have decent, respectful and
wonderfully enlightening conversations, like in this discussion, about the
Sudbury Model (hey, did I violate anyone's standard for writing with my
run-on sentence here? :-)

Live and learn, aye?

Peace,

Mark

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Sadofsky <sadofsky@mediaone.net>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 5:08 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: RE: Re: Diploma

> So does the Village School of Northfield serving students from k-12 as
> a charter school under Northfield Minnesota's jurisdiction offer a
> diploma? What criteria are used to award the diploma? How were these
> criteria developed and established?
> Mike
>
> On Mon, 10 Dec 2001 15:51:28 -0600, you wrote:
>
> >Joe wrote:
> >>Different students want different things. Some students want to
> >>restrict the awarding of a diploma to those who have passed an
> >>evaluative process. Some students and many parents believe it is
> >>important to have a document called a diploma in order to get jobs, etc.
> >
> >I'm torn about what a diploma should mean. On the one hand, those who
say
> >you need it to get a job are probably right. So in some ways it's almost
a
> >civil liberties/non-discrimination case: what could a person do in high
> >school that would be so bad that a diploma and therefore future chance at
a
> >job should be withheld ? If we hold that much power over someone we need
> >to take the job seriously. This would argue that we should give diplomas
> >to everyone, much as some college professors awarded A's during the
Vietnam
> >war so students wouldn't be drafted.
> >
> >Another argument is that democratic schools ask students to judge for
> >themselves what they need. How do we then say "well, this is what WE
think
> >you need and you haven't gotten it yet".?
> >
> >A third viewpoint is that as a member of my community I have a vested
> >interest in what others think about this school. If getting a diploma
here
> >is considered a joke then probably the school will be considered a joke
> >too. I would like to be respected, and have the diploma mean something
to
> >others. Therefore, I would like to have some kind of criteria,
preferably
> >in line with the mission statement, that success (diploma) or failure (no
> >diploma) could be judged on. And as a write that, I feel bad because I
> >don't want anyone considered a failure.
> >
> >I think in the final result, I would like a process where each student
> >judged for him-/her-self whether he/she is ready to be independent in the
> >world. The community would suggest criteria that the students could use
> >(able to keep a checking account, hold a job, speak, write, read,
> >participate in the community), but we all know successful adults that
can't
> >do each of these things. Each student could pick what criteria he/she
has
> >been aiming at and talk about how well he/she has met them. The
community
> >could comment and question, but only that student could truly decide
what
> >"success" was.
> >
> >Karen
> >
> >
> >
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