Re: DSM: students rights

From: Warren McMillan (warren@bmts.com)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 20:27:53 EST


Hi Joe, Travis et al. If I can jump in here with an observation that seems
relevant. This is a subject to which I have given some thought. My
observation was the first thing that came to my mind when I first stepped
onto the grounds of the Sudbury Valley school last summer. My thought was,
who wouldn't want to send their child here? It occurred to me, at that
time, that it wouldn't matter much what the philosophy was, if I could
afford to send my child to a private school, what more beautiful place would
there be than this? And if I sent my child and he/she was happy there,
well, as a parent that might be enough for me. This thought was reinforced
by my experience at the short-lived attempt at a Sudbury school that was the
Indian River school. Prior to opening the school, from last April through
to August, I held regular information meetings for prospective parents in
which I went over and over the basic philosophy and tried to impress on them
the importance of understanding and agreeing with the philosophy before they
made a decision to enrol their children. In spite of this, by the time the
school closed its doors, it was very clear to me that virtually none of the
parents really understood the philosophy, with one exception being a staff
member as well as a parent. Moreover, as I got to know them, I realized
that it didn't really matter to them. Each saw in the school a quality that
suited their own purposes quite apart from the stated philosophy. Now, it
might have been that I did not effectively convey the philosophy in the
first place but I just wonder how much it would have mattered to them
anyway.
Now I hope this doesn't throw a wrench into this thread and, if it does,
just ignore this and carry on as you were, otherwise, I would be interested
in what people, perhaps especially Sudbury parents, think about this. That
is, how important, to parents, is the philosophy of the school? And which
is most important to parents: that my child be free? that my child be happy?
that the school is a beautiful place to be?
The reason I am interested in this is that I am thinking about trying again
to start a Sudbury school and the answers to these questions would have a
bearing on how I approach parents next time around.
I should make one thing clear and that is that I have absolutely no doubt in
my mind about the importance of the philosophy for _children_ but it is the
parents I must reach in order to get enrollment hence the need to focus on
their perceptions.

Warren

----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Jackson <shoeless@jazztbone.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 7:10 PM
Subject: RE: DSM: students rights

> Hi, Travis. You wrote:
>
> > we say that ideally (it would)! it
> > would be a good
> > think if parents were not initiating overly coercive
> > measurers within the
> > home environment. Sadly, as with so many other things in
> > life, this is not a
> > realistic estimation. Indeed, more then anyone, if I had my
> > way, we would
> > throw all of these people out. But then we would be losing an
> > extremely
> > substantial portion of our school.
>
> And
>
>
> > the number of parents who, forget about
> > agreeing with the philosophy, are indifferent to it is
> > minimal enough! Based
> > on my limited observations, right now, you are LUCKY if your
> > parents, such as
> > mine, have a general indifference to the school and are
> > simply glad that
> > their kids are happy.
>
> Are you saying that in your estimation the vast majority of the parents
> at Sudbury Valley are there in spite of the fact that they are in
> disagreement with the philosophy? I find that a little shocking, and I
> hope, in the interest of the welfare of Sudbury Valley School, that your
> estimation is off!
>
> Thanks for giving your time to this list - your perspectives are very
> welcome.
>
> -Joe Jackson
>
>
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