DSM: RE: Re: Re: Sudbury Charter Schools

From: sambo (sambo01@pacbell.net)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 02:48:14 EST


Sam from Sacramento saying - WHAT!

>One point- the need for the school is because we live in a society that
>condemns those who cannot fit into our educational system to a life of
>poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and early death. We, as a
>society, deal with the handicapped that don't fit in. We, as a society,
>design an educational system for the 'average' student that does not exist.
>The tragedy is that this educational system weeds out the leaders and
>innovators and condemns them to their own devices which usually is a living
>or actual death.

Such a bold statement! Where is your evidence? I am clearly an exception,
and I can provide a list of others who are exceptions as well. While there
may be some that fit the scenario you describe, it is not an absolute. I
think you severely underestimate and undervalue the abilities of the
"gifted".

>The educational system defines gifted as those students who score above the
>98th percentile on a standardized test of intellectual ability. It
>recommends students to the gifted program and even testing for gifted,
based
>on the perceptions of teachers who are frustrated because so few of those
>who achieve these scores on screenings "look" gifted to them- so they
>recommend those who fit in well with their classes, which are the ones who
>don't really need exceptional education. The screening underrepresents
>minorities (the tests do also). Then the education provided does not meet
>the needs of the 'gifted' as defined by the massive educational research on
>the needs of the gifted- it meets the needs of the majority of the screened
>class.

What you say here has more truth. As one labeled "gifted", I had some
advantage in schooling vis--vis special programs. Even with the special
programs, the educational system did not meet my needs (until college
anyway). However, as a child I was already in poverty, today I am not. I am
not wealthy in a classic sense, my income alone is well above the median. In
one of my jobs, I am a leader and innovator, despite my disservice from
public education. I am not a leader at a level of a Senator, or President,
but many do not consider them leaders, just politicians. Maybe we don't
share the definition of "Leader".

I do not consider my life a living or actual death, nor is it early. While
it is true that I may have abused some substances at one point in my life, I
am hardly a short-lived life-long abuser. While I have been depressed at
times, that hardly makes me mentally ill.

Summas quo summas. We are who we are. The "gifted" although ill served,
may see they are ill served and can (sometimes with difficulty) find what
they need to survive, even thrive. Those in the majority, who you say the
system is designed for, can and do live in poverty, become substance
abusers, are or become mentally ill, and die early. If you consult the
media, they do so quite frequently.

>To me, the challenge is to stop the killing of our future leaders. All the
>major leaders and innovators of the 20th century, were those who were able
>to circumvent the public education system in some way. Churchill and
Edison
>lasted in school less than 2 months.

All the major leaders? - that's pretty darn sweeping. Are you prepared to
prove "all"?

How can you say with certainty what the "gifted" do? Are you all the
"gifted"? I think not. Same goes for leaders and innovators.

I think those who survive your death scenario (more than you think) can and
do become leaders. They may not do it in a fashion you may stereotypically
think of as being a leader, but leaders aren't necessarily highly visible,
well known, or lead in established milieu.

You can debate Churchill being a leader, or just an opportunist that
surrounded himself with leaders. Edison may have been an innovator, or just
sharp enough to put the right people together, and then take existing
technologies and ideas and capitalize on them.

The point is - you may state anything as an opinion or point of view, but
that does not make it an absolute, and there may be someone who's reality
contradicts that point of view. Opinions are a poor substitute for facts.

Sam in Sacramento
- Gifted, still alive and leading...

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
[mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org]On Behalf Of Mary Rose
Murrin
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 5:16 AM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
Subject: DSM: Re: Re: Sudbury Charter Schools

One point- the need for the school is because we live in a society that
condemns those who cannot fit into our educational system to a life of
poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and early death. We, as a
society, deal with the handicapped that don't fit in. We, as a society,
design an educational system for the 'average' student that does not exist.
The tragedy is that this educational system weeds out the leaders and
innovators and condemns them to their own devices which usually is a living
or actual death.

The educational system defines gifted as those students who score above the
98th percentile on a standardized test of intellectual ability. It
recommends students to the gifted program and even testing for gifted, based
on the perceptions of teachers who are frustrated because so few of those
who achieve these scores on screenings "look" gifted to them- so they
recommend those who fit in well with their classes, which are the ones who
don't really need exceptional education. The screening underrepresents
minorities (the tests do also). Then the education provided does not meet
the needs of the 'gifted' as defined by the massive educational research on
the needs of the gifted- it meets the needs of the majority of the screened
class.

To me, the challenge is to stop the killing of our future leaders. All the
major leaders and innovators of the 20th century, were those who were able
to circumvent the public education system in some way. Churchill and Edison
lasted in school less than 2 months. Edison was told that he was mentally
retarded. Churchill's parents pulled him out due to his 'lack of fit'. The
wealthy don't have to educate their children in a system that kills them.
>From what I see, 'child-centered' learning works, homeschooling- especially
unschooling- works, and I suspect Sudbury works. These are not models for
public education. In fact, in Florida, home schoolers cannot use books
bought with public education money- even if they wanted to. And the books
that our educators purchase to educate our children are not available to
home schoolers through most of the publishers. So it becomes a haven for
those who make enough to keep one parent home and can afford textbooks. But
it does not prepare all our leaders to become leaders- just those from those
homes that can afford an education that doesn't destroy their leadership
ability. Scratch a person of leadership ability who was educated in the
public school system who has survived until the age of 50, and you'll find
someone who is in extreme emotional pain, working in a low-income job to
service the intellectual needs of less talented people from upper middle
class homes who are in professional positions.

I believe that this is no accident. Our society builds systems that keep
the separation between the wealthy and the poor, to encourage the separation
in income levels between the poor and the rich, and to weed out the
innovators so that only a few of the wealthy and privileged are fit to lead.
We have so few leaders fit to lead after generations of public schools and
the myth that private schools need to pattern themselves after the best of
the public education model, that we need to have homeschool and Sudbury
schools- but again in this society where we create differences between
people by treating everyone the same- these 'leader building' schools should
be unavailable to the poor and working poor. And for the most part, they
are- we build that into the system.

Saying that, I believe that Sudbury schools should be available- for free-
to any child who chooses in America. It is not predicated on building
schools for the gifted- but it is inspired by the tragedy of the fate of the
best of our future leaders.

Off the soap box.

Mary Rose

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Rovner" <rovners@netvision.net.il>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 10:39 PM
Subject: DSM: Re: Sudbury Charter Schools

>
> Mary Rose,
> Can you elaborate on what is "a gifted child"?
>
> David Rovner
> Favors ending government involvement ineducation,
> working for the Advancement of Democratic Schools
> & the Freedom of Learning.
>
> Separate School from State
> http://www.sepschool.org
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mary Rose Murrin" <mmurrin@tampabay.rr.com>
> To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 12:26 PM
> Subject: DSM: Sudbury Charter Schools
>
>
> > Have been concerned about the fate of at-risk gifted children in the
> > American educational system for quite some time - ever since one of my
> son's
> > teachers told me that 33% of all gifted children quit school before
> > completing high school. In my search through the universe for
educational
> > choices, the best option before me seemed to be the 'unschooling'
> approach,
> > which worked for me. This is also a good choice for all children who
need
> > to shape their own futures. But it has always concerned me that this
> would
> > not work for younger children of single mothers who needed to work, and
by
> > the time these children are old enough to be on their own while their
> > mothers worked, substantial damage has already been done- often
resulting
> in
> > lifelong mental illness. The Sudbury model appears to be more viable
for
> > upper middle class mothers, but I believe that a quality education
should
> be
> > available to all people regardless of income. The charter school option
> > would then seem to be one way to get the Sudbury model established
within
> > the public education system- because it allows independent choice of
> > educational approaches and teachers- even though this does violate the
> > Sudbury principle of not accepting government money, it does have the
> > advantage of making a Sudbury-model education available to the masses.
> Has
> > anyone out there tried to get the Sudbury model established within a
> charter
> > school framework? Is anyone interested in getting one started in
> > Hillsborough County Florida? If the answer to either of these questions
> is
> > "yes", please e-mail me privately at mmurrin@tampabay.rr.com
> >
> > Mary Rose
> >
> >
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