DSM: RE: Re: Diploma question

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 00:26:59 EST


> I've seen a lot of students leave influenced for the
> better by their
> time at a Sudbury school, but I've also seen some kids who
> routinely used
> their time to recover from drug excesses of the night before,
> or to take
> naps.

Lisa,

I'm afraid I don't see how this example of behavior on any given day
contradicts the idea that being in the school for a period of some years
always has a massive impact on a young person's life.

One may or may not approve of *where* that person is on any particular
point in their personal journey, or what they did the night before -
this is not the point. The point is that the Sudbury model school is a
place where the student cannot (should not) be robbed of their
path/life/dharma, and this sets the stage for the real magic.

I'm quite certain I have seen students that fit what you are thinking of
when you posted the above description. I also believe that our school
represented a life-altering experience in the journey of these students
that were able to keep with it for a few years.

> Our schools are great, but they're not magic.

I reject that assertion. In my experience, there is no possible
description for the door-opening that take place in a SM student other
than magic. All of the attempts to prove or rationalize or critique the
methods and structures ignore the simple fact that all one really has to
do is talk and really listen to Sudbury students and grads to know how
wondrous and unexplainable it is.

> They require
> commitment and effort.

Once again, I think this is askew to the point. The school CAUSES
commitment and effort. The fact that others may not approve of that
which the student is committed to is unrelated. And the violation of
the rights of others or the health of the school represented within the
actions of a student is yet a third matter, still unrelated to the
fundamental relationship between the Sudbury environment and it's
long-term impact on children.

The desire to commit; the desire to *do* stems _from_ being in the
school, just as a desire to tap your foot comes from listening to music.
The manifestation or degree of the commitment and effort might not
appeal to another person at any given time, and I think there can be
broad agreement that involvement in partying very often poses a
formidable obstacle in a person's life. But that a student is into
experimenting with something or other does not, in my view, indict the
broader impact that school environment has on their overall life in the
long run.

>
> Simply being at a Sudbury school is good, but growing up
> watching older kids
> get serious about their lives and wanting (no stick involved)
> to articulate
> to others what they've done and what they intend to do, is
> even better.

?? Well, watching & listening to others learn and devour their passions
is *precisely* what one experiences "simply being" at a Sudbury school.
Unless your point is that only articulation in the form of a thesis
process represents "getting serious", with which I would obviously
disagree.

> That,
> to me, is one of the reasons why the SVS graduation process
> with thesis and
> Assembly vote has value.

OK.

> I was pleased to hear that Booroobin
> has the same
> process. Fairhaven does too, at the moment, but another
> Assembly is coming
> up. Our current candidates for graduation, who persuaded the
> Assembly to
> accept the SVS process, have their fingers crossed.

I don't really know what you mean here. Are you saying that the
graduating students are hoping Assembly does not change diploma
procedures *again* before they have a chance to go through the "old-new"
procedure? I would really hope they are not wasting their energy
sweating that! It is, at minimum, logistically impossible for Z & J not
to be grandfathered would a radically different procedure be proposed
this late in the year! What's more, I think it is unanimous that J & Z
should be able to do what they proposed!

Additionally, I'm at a loss as to who you think might present another
proposal this year, given that we just completely revamped the
procedures no a month ago. Do you know something I don't?

Furthermore, I think it's a bit of exaggeration to say that J&Z
"convinced" assembly to go along with the SVS procedures, when assembly
was unanimously in favor of them doing it all along. The only
amendments offered were regarding the names of documents, wording,
composition of the committee and time limit for debate.

As far as my personal position on the current state of the whole matter:
contrary to what I am certain is being said about what I think, I am
satisfied with the current procedures, in view of the fact that our
Assembly generally defines the words "diploma" and "certificate of
graduation" differently than I personally would.

[continued in a private email...]

-Joe Jackson

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