Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] SVS=Elite? AND Urban Students

From: Elizabeth Marrin <>
Date: Tue Dec 3 08:37:00 2002


But SVS will still remain the ultimate elite school when *staff*
are of a certain type of class that can work without pay or with
little pay. Sudbury requires that new staff work without pay or
with little pay for an unspecified amount of time until they
become part of the scenery. It is simply impossible to just
start working for Sudbury if you get out of college and want to
work there, or if you've learned much on the road of life (and
need a job to live).

Until Sudbury has a proven mechanism to change this really bad
rule, the students will be raised in an elite system where tacit
messages/guidance come from the elite staff.

It will stop being elite when it becomes a "public" democratic
system in every which way, even for the staff.


--- Joe Jackson <> wrote:
> > i
> > would hope that anyone who believes in the sudbury model for
> > schooling would
> > also recognize the importance of communities taking care of
> > *all* their
> > members, not just those who have already been privileged as
> > part of the elite
> > class in a global hegemony.
> Sonia,
> I don't know what a hegemony is, but we hear criticism of this
> theme all
> of the time from folks who, like yourself, are apparently
> unaware that
> our low tuition rates combined with our bifurcated Tuition
> Assistance
> program make Sudbury schooling available for students across
> the
> Washington DC area, absolutely without regard to their
> family's income
> level.
> A few years ago, having given so much of my time, money and
> livelihood
> in order to make Fairhaven available in the manner I describe,
> I might
> have let a prejudice like this make me blue. But I have
> learned that in
> this day of $15,000-per-year private schools, this perception
> is
> something to be expected. The fact is that we are inevitably
> lumped in
> with schools that honest-to-goodness try to cater to parents
> who don't
> really know what elite is but want their kids to be it, and
> there's
> honestly little to be done to counter this public perception
> in a
> culture wherein all the bully pulpits belong to those who own
> and work
> in the public schools.
> (Never mind that our elected leaders mostly send their kids to
> these
> "elitist" private schools; the political points are to made by
> alternately beating on and pumping the public schools, and of
> course for
> the triumverate of the Department of Ed, state and local
> boards of ed,
> and the teaching lobby, public schools are the reason d'Ítre.)
> So I'm sure not perturbed at you, Sonia, but help us out a
> little by
> spreading the word that little community-built schools like
> Sudbury
> Valley and Fairhaven don't aim to cater towards the any
> particular
> group, much less the "elite". Or at least help us out by not
> attempting
> to advance the (what I hope at this point is apparently
> delusive)
> argument that public schools have a monopoly on caring about
> all of the
> members of their community! :)
> > i think urban public schools need a little
> > more structure than sudbury offers
> This I don't understand at all. Having done clinics across
> the country,
> primarily in urban and suburban high schools, I feel I can say
> with
> authority that the attitudes and cultures of inner city
> schools are
> among the most misreported and misunderstood facts in the
> current sphere
> of human experience.
> I can think of no better prospects for the Sudbury Model than
> the highly
> imaginative and socially-savvy students I have had the
> pleasure of
> working with at schools in Southeast DC, South Central Los
> Angeles, East
> St Louis and South Chicago. In my view, these student would
> take to
> culture-building MUCH more quickly than some of the students
> I've worked
> with in suburban and small town schools, and would derive the
> untold
> benefits of removal of adult direction more immediately.
> Adding structure would simply keep the *true* reins of power
> over self
> just out of the reach of these students, confirming that it
> was just
> another trick, and spoiling the culture just enough that it
> wouldn't
> work.
> Unfortunately, the _parents_ of students in large cities are
> what have
> proven to be the biggest obstacle to Sudbury Schools in big
> cities. We
> have had a real heckuva time getting through to these parents
> in these
> centers of 20th century industry that the idea that a single,
> narrowly
> defined set of memorized facts is the key to their children's
> success is
> THE big sucker scheme of the 20th century, and that by forcing
> down this
> diet of trivia all they are doing is denying development of
> the fierce
> imagination, curiosity and self-possession they ironically
> seek the
> most.
> Very sad, but all we can do is be the best we can be for the
> families
> who get it, and ensure that financial issues do not comprise
> one of the
> excuses that parents can't get it.
> -joe
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list

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Received on Tue Dec 03 2002 - 08:36:05 EST

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