DSM: Re: Sudbury Charter Schools

From: David Rovner (rovners@netvision.net.il)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 02:51:10 EST

To me, the challenge is to give everyone -- not equality but -- equal opportunity: the "gifted", the "average", the "learning disabled". . .

" . . . Each of us, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, has our own unique contribution to make to the development of human culture . . ."

" . . . Every person I have ever met has some special interest, something he or she is really good at. It is that special spark in each human being that makes them interesting, and ,makes us want to seek out their wisdom and counsel . . ."

" . . . Let's make it our goal to produce a nation of eccentric entrepeneurs of the mind and spirit, measurable not by some standard tests of uniform knowledge, but by the degree to which each of us is able to make some small original contribution to the advancement of human culture"

[quotations from: "We Need Less Homogenization, and Much More Variation in our Schools", Education in America -- A View From Sudbury Valley, Daniel Greenberg][emphasis mine.- D.R.]

"The child is not the mere creature of the State."

David Rovner - rovners@netvision.net.il
Favors ending government involvement in education,
working for the Advancement of Democratic Schools
& the Freedom of Learning, Individual Rights and
Objectivist philosophy in Israel.

Separate School from State

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Rose Murrin" <mmurrin@tampabay.rr.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 3:16 PM
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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