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

From: Mike Sadofsky <>
Date: Tue Dec 3 09:33:01 2002

On Tue, 3 Dec 2002 05:35:53 -0800 (PST), Elizabeth Marrin
<> wrote:

>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:
balance of thread snipped for brevity and clarity


I don't want to get into a debate about what constitutes an "elite"
school or what a ""public" democratic system" might be, but I feel
strongly that your characterization of the staff compensation and
selection process at SVS is, at best, a distortion. I don't know
where you may have gathered your impression that SVS "requires" and
has such "rules" about staff, but perhaps I can clarify the reality
for you and others before this distortion generates any more exposure.

1. SVS offers a salary structure that is competitive with that of
other private schools in the region. There is NOT any requirement
that staff work without compensation or with little pay until they
become part of the scenery. In fact, there is no provision for such
voluntary "staff" presence at SVS.

2. Just like every organization that I have ever been exposed to, it
is not possible at SVS to just go to work there. One must meet a need
and be hired by whatever policies exist. At SVS, these policies
amount to selection and engagement by the School Meeting in an open
debate and open vote. And since staff at SVS work on an annual
contract, ALL staff requirements and selections are reexamined every

3. At SVS, staff are selected and hired by the School Meeting. Thus,
any staff candidate who is able to convince enough School Meeting
members (students outnumber staff in the School meeting by a ratio of
about 20:1) that they (the candidate) is worthy of being hired has an
opportunity to become a member of the staff. Nothing more is
required, but any candidate must find a way to "sell" themselves to
the members of the School Meeting (the selection committee).

4. Over the years, new staff members have been hired by the School
Meeting with both the backgrounds you describe: recent college
graduates and people with life experience. In every instance, these
were people who the School Meeting members felt would be valuable
members of the staff.

I hope this clarifies the situation at SVS.

Mike Sadofsky
Received on Tue Dec 03 2002 - 09:32:46 EST

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