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

From: Elizabeth Marrin <>
Date: Wed Dec 4 16:49:00 2002

Hi Marilu,

> If you had your mind set in making a difference for new
> generations (in alternative ways, probably), why did you
> choose to attend such an elite school (and outrageously
> expensive for a ... "pedigree" perhaps?)

I was brought into that world because I wanted to work on
Project IF, which was developed by two of the faculty at
Harvard. If Project IF was at a state school, I would have gone
there. My undergraduate career is not typical. I went to 4
colleges over a span of 10 years before I graduated at an urban
commuter college in Boston. I have no "pedigree" to speak of,
even though I was at Harvard for a year getting my master's
degree. I just know a good idea when I see one. See what I

Sudbury and Project IF have something in common: the idea that
kids interests should be explored. This theme was obvious in
most of my papers that year at Harvard. Even after that year is
up, I am still thinking about how identity development is
stifled in public schools. I'm hoping to do doctoral research
on how identity development brings about resilience during
adolescence and later life success.

I base most of my "knowledge" about this on self-knowledge. I
didn't learn it in graduate school classes first. My graduate
school education enhanced my knowledge base, but I came with a
tremendous amount of life experience. Doing graduate research
just shows me that I am not alone. (I recognize I am biased
here, but at some point in one's life, one needs to sit down and
really commit to an idea. The ideas I am most committed to are
ideas that are generated from my own life experiences.)

I could write a book but if I just spout about my own life, that
isn't enough. Having a Harvard degree gives me credibility with
the academic circles. I know what the research says is
psychologically healthy for development. And regular public
schools are not always healthy.

I just wish someone like me could work at SVS. The next
generation of education reformers have chances to go through
academic channels because of programs like the Risk and
Prevention master's program at Harvard

We will exit our education with higher education debt, thinking
that we are now credible on both sides of the fence...

Then, real change can happen with public schools. SVS is pretty
good and all that, but isn't it time to make this kind of thing
accessible to all? Having staff who have both life experience
and an educational understanding about human nature (i.e.,
learning, curiosity, and life success) is only a benefit to all
> Anyway, I agree that you should not give up (and it won't
> help getting bitter at the first obstacle in your path).

Wow, well this isn't the first obstacle, by far. But this is
the first obstacle I've encountered from a group I would
consider ideologically "my people."

I have experienced failure, found my calling, became credible
via educational routes, and now have no more opportunities to
"go for broke" in a startup radical educational institution.
I also just turned 30 and would like to start a family of my
own. I cannot see this all happening in my lifetime and I am
disappointed that SVS would not have thought of the very poor
but very capable person to be a staff.

> Disappointment hurts, but life is full of opportunities.

Yes, I see that.. I am making them happen, slowly.

> Maybe you can find a high paying job to help you get 'settled'
> and take it from there on. (Stay focused and don't get into
> further debts). Remember, we can (and should) make a
> difference in the world no matter where we are. (Not
> everyone of us can drop our jobs and go work at SVS, but we
> value it and support it in all possible ways, social,
> political or personal).

Thanks for your kind words. I will be fine - I have survived
incredible odds in life and this issue I've brought up isn't
really anything other than a blip on my radar screen. I really
just hope that someone passes my notes on to all the founders to
make provisions for very poor but very capable staff.

I would have absolutely LOVED to give my life's work to SVS.


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Received on Wed Dec 04 2002 - 16:48:50 EST

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