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

From: Joe Jackson <shoeless_at_jazztbone.com>
Date: Thu Dec 5 08:50:01 2002

> I understand full well the sacrifices that the founders of
> SVS and other such school have made, and continue to make, to
> ensure that these schools become operational and to stay
> operational. I know that tuitions are generally much lower
> than other private schools. Despite this, I believe that the
> "elite" moniker still fits and that, in fact it is not an
> indictment at all. The fact of the matter is that parents of
> our schools, in addition to the taxes they pay to support
> state schools, also have to pay tuition. This very fact puts
> attendance out of the reach of many people - hence "elite".
> It is not the way we want things to be, for sure -- but it is
> the way things are.

Alan,

As I stated in previous posts, Fairhaven's Tuition Assistance program
can potentially reduce the cost of a qualifying family's tuition to $0
or close to it.

And many schools are taking a hard look at Circle School's new sliding
scale tuition, and based on the reaction from other schools, I expect
that this will be copied by several (if it hasn't been already).

The goal of taking financial considerations out of the list of reasons a
family can't attend our schools is a very hot topic among Sudbury School
staff, judging from the conference this last summer.

Regardless of the tuition issue, I don't see the point of hanging the
label on a school whose fundamental premise is equal status for all
members. The word "elite" to me is a superlative, the "crea of the
cream" which applies to the "top" exclusive and high-priced schools. If
the very fact that people have to pay a little make us elite then I
don't understand your use of the word.

If the criteria is simply whether something is free or not, then it's
like saying everyone in the U.S. that has cable TV is rich because they
choose to pay for something that they could get for free, and that cable
TV is an "elite" service and automobile ownership puts a person in
"elite" status. "Congratulations, the purchase of your 1988 Toyota
Corolla puts you in the absolute elite of those with the sophistication
and taste to insist upon the very best in 15-year old cheap cars."

That's what we are: a fifteen-year-old Toyota Corolla. To those poor
slobs riding the bus and walking I guess it looks like the ultimate in
prestige to see us whizzing by, muffler dragging on the pavement, kids
with their heads hanging out the window screaming some dumb song.

-joe
Received on Thu Dec 05 2002 - 08:49:43 EST

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