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

From: Alan Klein <alan_at_klein.net>
Date: Thu Dec 5 09:51:01 2002

Joe,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. One thing I am sure you are well aware of
is that sliding scales and Fairhaven's Tuition Assistance program are made
possible by the ability of others to pay for it. This is not a bad thing,
just a reality.

I think the problem here is that there are two definitions of "elite" at
play here. The one you and, I believe, others are responding to is the
notion of elite private prep schools which actively discourage those whom
they see as beneath them to apply or attend. "Elite", used in this way, is a
disparaging term and applies to each individual's attitude among the elite
group.

The definition I am using, and which I "heard" in the original message using
the term, is a socio-political one. It confronts those with unearned
privilege in an attempt to raise that privilege to consciousness. In a
sense, even the poorest among residents in this country are privileged and,
therefore, belong to the "elite" that is the USA. (We, for example, make up
6% of the world's population, yet consume almost half of its resources.)
"Elite", used in this way, is a descriptive term, and applies at a group
level. It does NOT refer to individual attitudes.

Therefore, Fairhaven's TA program, or Highland's standing $60 a month
tuition, are laudable actions which do much to make our schools affordable
to a wide constituency. The go far in having us be non-elite in the view of
the first definition. They do NOT, however, make us any less elite at the
group or societal level.

This distinction between the individual and the group levels is a very
difficult one to come to grips with, particularly for those on the "top". It
is why white folks have difficulty seeing the institutional and continuing
racism in our society. (After all, WE are not racist ourselves...are we?) It
is why U.S. citizens have trouble even hearing the question, much less
understanding, why people in other countries hate and fear us. (After all,
we're nice people with a nice democracy...aren't we?) It's why teachers in
traditional schools are so repulsed by the notion of democratic schools.
(After all, we love the children and want only what's best for them...don't
we?)

~Alan Klein

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Jackson" <shoeless_at_jazztbone.com>
> 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).
Received on Thu Dec 05 2002 - 09:50:57 EST

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