Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] What is your doubt?

From: Carol Hughes <>
Date: Thu Feb 13 09:34:00 2003

Hello Huang,
I have had children enrolled at Sudbury Valley School for 15 years. The fundamental doubt that I have heard dozens of times is whether a student/human being has an innate drive for knowledge and skills. If left to their own devices will a student make productive choices. This conflict has always fascinated me because of the obvious failures over and over of the 100 year old model of a curriculum systematically forced down the throats of young minds sitting in rows hour after hour, grouped by age. Despite this failure, our culture continues to discuss whether longer hours and more tests will make this system work better. One of the issues that I suspect prevents society from moving toward a student-directed school, is that the parent has a need to believe that they belong to the community at large and that their own experience in schools is validated by its perpetuation. Some parents openly express, sometimes with an attitude of resentment, if it was good enough for them, then their children can learn that way too. Much of the time in traditional schools is spent on assuring its own survival. Long ago I read that someone put a stop watch on the average student's day and discovered that, on a good day, they got exactly 20 minutes of instruction personally. It is a system that has millions of people experiencing inadequate learning situations. One is told it is a defect in the student if they are not happy, or thriving. Special Needs has become a negative term that every parent dreads hearing. I have a five year old voice student who is being tutored. I haven't even wanted to ask why. He is bright, curious and imaginative. His mom said he doesn't stick with things. I said, "He's five years old!". Children are tested at an early age to "identify" their issues. What's wrong with this child? How can we fix it? Parents worry about how to give their child the very best education. The majority in this country is a consumer driven society. One might even ask parents to make sure their children are good little consumers directly, but it is so imbedded in the media that it isn't always noticed. From an early age I saw the curiosity and eagerness in my children. In part, I have no idea why more people don't come to the same conclusions about the integrity of their children's spirit. Quite frankly, the traditional school system is a radical and absurd concept to me, irrelevant to our times, a wounded dinosaur. Huang, do not be afraid to have kids. Just the very nature of your questions would indicate a great father, and it's a fabulous gift getting to raise your children in better ways.
Glad you asked these questions.
Carol Hughes
Mother of two SVS graduates and one more on the way to graduating,

----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 11:41 PM
  Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] What is your doubt?

  i'm an international student from Hong Kong. My horrible school experience has scared me not to have kids. I don't want my kids to study in a sick education system. In my country, people still cannot trust a democratic school. But I feel much much better when i see Sudbury schools work in other countries.
  I decide to pick Sudbury Schools as my research topic as I'm really fasinated. I want to do a survey on what people doubt about Sudbury schools.
  Why it seems so hard to become the majority?
  What do people worry about the school principles such as, self-government, no compulsory curriculum, mixed age group?
  I'll be appreciate if you let me know your opinion. Thanks a lot.

Received on Thu Feb 13 2003 - 09:33:33 EST

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