Re: DSM: students rights

From: Warren McMillan (warren@bmts.com)
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 21:25:47 EST


Hi Bill. I think I understand what you are saying here but when you start
talking algorithms, well, I must have a mental block brought upon by
traumatic memories of high school math classes. I think you are saying that
the end does not justify the means. By focussing on parent perceptions I
risk losing sight of "that something else" which is at the heart of the
Sudbury model. You may be right, although I have to say that I really am
not pursuing the development of a Sudbury school with any sense of
desperation. I do not see it as a personal mission. It is, for me, just a
matter of doing the right thing for children. Having taught in traditional
schools for many years, perhaps I am trying to undo some of that... make
reparations or whatever, but I am not driven. At each of the information
meetings I held prior to the startup of Indian River I would tell myself,
Self, this meeting may be all you ever get out of this venture so make the
best of it to spread the word that there is a better way.
I love your 'tiny' suggestion about giving up all hope. I can think of no
better advice for anyone involved in Sudbury startup groups. Work away at it
but don't attach to the outcome.

Now, all that said, I still want to know what is important to parents if
only to get them in the door to find out there is a real alternative for
their children. I mean, if it were established that most SVS parents
approached the school because it had an oak tree on campus I might look for
a local site that had an oak tree and might reject a property with only
birch trees. This does not mean I am going to spend a lot of time planting
oak trees or offering enrollment only to families that have oak trees at
home or distort the Sudbury model so that students are only free if they are
under an oak tree. It is just using an awareness of how parents perceive
Sudbury schools to advantage to enrol students. I think it will matter not
a bit to the students what their parent's perceptions were at the time of
their enrolment in a Sudbury model school so long as it is a true Sudbury
school.

Warren

----- Original Message -----
From: <Sugmapl@aol.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2002 9:45 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: students rights

> Dear Warren,
>
> Thanks for our post. You wrote:
>
> << 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. >>
>
> Forgive me, but I am facinated by the above. When I read it, it is clearly
a
> small algorithm. The results of the algorithm are enrollment, and
presumably
> an up and running school. The step to get to the results is a focus on the
> perceptions of parents.
>
> But again forgive me, for I only suggest a different focus. I suggest
> Travis's white hot agreement on what exactly is the core of the "school".
> Usual and prevailing education has made all of childhood an algorithm.
They
> have routinized and regimented the childs' day, with bells and classes and
> bathroom passes, and "development" from concrete to abstract thinking and
all
> the rest. And whatever else they are, educators are not stupid. They have
> deliberately chosen to attempt to reduce childhood to algorithm for a
reason.
> They want results. My only very small suggestion is build something else.
And
> that something else is the focus.
>
> And all we know about that something else, is that it is not an algorithm.
> So, I now wonder if we can algorithmically build something that is not an
> algorithm.
>
> Now I don't even have small suggestions, only tiny ones. Just give up all
> hope of any results in building or rebuilding the school. I think the load
> will be lighter, the work will be easier, without hope.
>
>
> Warm Regards,
> Bill Richardson
>
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