Re: DSM: students rights

From: Ann Ide (ann.ide@rcn.com)
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 21:28:17 EST


Good points, Scott. (And I liked being called a philosopher!) I was
talking about parents only, by the way. I agree totally that the kids don't
need to understand the model. I also agree that parents who are content
enough that they don't undermine in some way don't need anything further.
My issue is with the parents who have doubts, concerns, etc. and then act
out of them like trying to get their kids to do such and such or tutoring
them at home. Just today I was talking with a parent who is very happy with
the school and her kids' happiness there. However, she was very worried
about "W" still not reading and his "dyslexia". So he gets tutored in some
special reading program. He hates it so much she has to buy him presents as
rewards for putting up with it. The tutor also tries to get "W" to sit with
his feet on the floor and stuff like that! UGH! I don't think this mother
has even talked to anyone at school or read the school books. I did what I
could and suggested the latter; but wouldn't it be better if these
situations could be avoided and , if so, what would it take? The poor kid!

Ann
----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott David Gray" <sgray@aramis.sudval.org>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2002 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: students rights

> Hi Ann,
>
> On Sat, 26 Jan 2002, Ann Ide wrote:
>
> > So, there's my story. I can't help but think that the more parents
> > understood the model, the more supported the kids would be and the less
> > stress around the issue there would be for everyone, staff included. I
>
> Maybe. Though I do think that one very important thing that
> most alumni (myself included) take from the school is that
> "it takes all kinds to make a world." It seems that the
> world needs people who are interested in foremost in dancing
> or fixing aircraft, just as surely as it needs philosophers
> like yourself or myself.
>
> As system administrator in the Internet Room, I don't care
> whether or not the students who use the computers know why
> the library corporation has a policy that one cannot install
> or use programs such as Outlook Express. But if a student
> wants to know, or if a question about the policy is raised
> in a Library Corporation meeting, I am happy to explain the
> position that Outlook Express is a virus magnet and that
> using it greatly increaces the liklihood of the Internet
> being inaccesible from time to time while I work to get the
> viruses off the computers.
>
> Likewise, as a proponent of the school, I don't have any
> problem with people who enjoy the school for what it is
> without knowing the philosophical underpinnings that make it
> that way. And obviously I wouldn't maintain this list if I
> didn't also enjoy talking about the philosophy with the DSM
> community.
>
> > think it would be a good idea to include a book in the application
packet
> > (up the price $10 to cover the cost) and request or require it be read
> > before the interview.
>
> That's a question that has been discussed in school at some
> length. The feeling of most people, after a lot of thought
> about the issue, was that handing someone a book would send
> an unstated message that "you should read this -- despite
> the fact that you've gotten a sense of what the school would
> mean for you in the interview." Some fear that this would
> make us appear to be endorsing a "pro SVS" curriculum for
> the parents, and could thereby undermine our attempts to
> communicate the most central aspect of the school -- that we
> are pluralistic and have no curriculum!
>
> In addition, some people at SVS have the concern that things
> people get "for free" are devalued in their minds. You can
> see this in action with computer software -- many people
> would rather buy a piece of software than use one that is
> maintained by the Free Software Foundation under the Gnu
> Public License. I don't know that handing books to people
> increaces the likelihood that they will read it any more
> than the act of passing books out (like flyers on
> windshields) makes people want to toss it in the trash.
>
> However, other Sudbury schools have chosen differently.
> It's certainly a reasonable idea, but the school community
> at SVS isn't motivated to try it at this time. It does seem
> that it may do some good in smaller schools, where being
> handed a book may have more the air of a personal decision
> than an institutional decision.
>
> > Hope this is a help, Warren. I have a feeling what gets so many kids
into
> > SVS in spite of parental indifference,etc. is the discontent with the
public
> > schools. You can do "marketing" from that angle, of course.
> >
> > Ciao,
> > Ann Ide
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Warren McMillan" <warren@bmts.com>
> > To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> > Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 8:27 PM
> > Subject: Re: DSM: students rights
> >
> >
> > > 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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> --
>
> --Scott David Gray
> reply to: sgray@sudval.org
> http://www.unseelie.org/
> ============================================================
> It has continually struck us that there is no element in
> modern life that is more lamentable than the fact that the
> modern man has to seek all artistic existence in a sedentary
> state. If he wishes to float into fairyland, he reads a
> book; if he wishes to dash into the thick of battle, he
> reads a book; if he wishes to soar into heaven, he reads a
> book; if he wishes to slide down the banisters, he reads a
> book. We give him these visions, but we give him exercise
> at the same time, the necessity of leaping from wall to
> wall, of fighting strange gentlemen, of running down long
> streets from pursuers -- all healthy and pleasant exercises.
> We give him a glimpse of that great morning world of Robin
> Hood or the Knights Errant, when one great game was played
> under the splendid sky. We give him back his childhood,
> that godlike time when we can act stories, be our own
> heroes, and at the same instant dance and dream.
>
> -- G. K. Chesterton, 1905, The Club of Queer Trades.
> ============================================================
>
>
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