DSM: Re: TCS (Taking Children Seriously): Non-coercive Schools?

From: Kristin Harkness (kristin@harkness.net)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 19:17:30 EST

Ardeshir (or other TCS folks),

How would common preferences work in a school community of 220? I am
interested in exploring the assertion that they would be far more
non-coercive than rules.

My 12 year old attends SVS. It happens that we can realistically offer her
the choice between SVS and "the fees" because we work at home. Of course,
there are many families where both parents work outside the home for whom, I
assume, this would not be an option. Anyway, the question intrigued me, so
I just asked her, in all seriousness, whether she would rather attend SVS or
pocket the $4,750. She picked SVS, with no hesitation. I was actually
surprised that she didn't even mull over her answer (though I did expect
that she'd choose SVS). I asked her why. She replied, "I love SVS. I love
the interaction."

Every summer we ask her, again in all seriousness, if she wants to re-enroll
at SVS. Every summer we get an easy and prompt "yes".

Kristin Harkness
SVS Parent

----- Original Message -----
From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D.
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 6:00 PM
Subject: DSM: TCS (Taking Children Seriously): Non-coercive Schools?


I wonder if anyone on the DSM list has had a chance to go over the
following Web article, which is highly critical of SVS:


It seems, in my opinion, to make some very valid points: especially
the point about rules (coercive) vs. common preferences (non-coercive);
and the bit about the fees (viz., do the students have a right to use the
money which goes towards the SVS fees to pay themselves rather than

What would it take to abolish all rules at SVS, and instead have a
list of common preferences, which would be far more non-coercive
than riules? And what would it take to give the students the option
of using the money that would go to SVS for their own (extra-SVS)
interests? This seems to me the way to go, in light of the claim that
"Whatever the time of day, and whatever their age, students in the
[Sudbury Valley] school are all doing what they want to do." Other-
wise the claim does, I admit, sound hollow.


Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>


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