RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Questions about Their Future

From: Joe Jackson <shoeless_at_jazztbone.com>
Date: Sat Feb 22 15:14:01 2003

Sue,

> Are there any data about Sudbury grads receiving scholarships
> to go to the
> college of their choice? I'm assuming that the question of
> transcripts and
> diplomas is surmountable, but how can scholarship committees know who
> qualifies, without an official transcript from a school?

I'm not going to tackle that one, as Fairhaven is pretty young and I'm
not sure if any of our grads are college scholarship recipients.
Perhaps somebody from SVS could answer that one...

> So, what happens when the other kids go in directions that have less
> appearance of academic success?

-and-

> How to trust that they will come away from this "style" with
> the ability to
> take care of themselves? How, when society these days is SO
> homogeneous and
> SO against enterpreneurship?

I the parent's ability to trust that the child will learn what she needs
to do what they want in the world stems directly from what that parent
thinks the world is, and what that parent thinks the child will need to
make it.

I think a lot of Sudbury school parents might disagree that society
today is against enterpreneurship and individuality. Western culture
has always been a push-pull between individualism and conformity, and
without regard to how our (specifically American) culture is framed in
the media and perceived through the lense of who are government is and
how they act, I think the value of creativity and enterpreneurship is at
an all-time high.

I could go into a long-winded illustration of why I think that, but it's
not really the point. The point is that my expectations of what my 8yo
daughter and 10yo son will need to get through life are centered around
being self-possesed, brilliant, creative, highly social self-starters.
In short, qualities best exemplified by the vast majority of Sudbury
school graduates I have met.

On the other hand, I'm certain there are parents that believe that
having experience working in an academic environment, knowing how to
work teachers and examiners, and being able to memorize information are
critical qualities to thrive in our world.

And there are thousands of shades of gray between and about these two
examples.

So I'm not going to try to explain away your doubts. But I will offer
this caveat: many, many people question whether conventional schooling
is the best place for their children, but most of them only have
conventionally-schooled children as a point of reference in terms of
imagining what a child is capable of in a fully
learner-initiated/democratic environment. This is a fallacy.

The only way to become aware of what a child can do as a member of a
democratic, learner-initiated school is to read accounts of or observe a
child who has been fortunate enough to be in one for a few years.
That's the tough part of the process: that the vast majority of students
who have been in coercive/persuasive schools are not good guages of what
students can be if left alone.

You, as an unschooler have observed that there is a big difference
between your kids who have not been "made" to do things and their peers
which have, I'm sure. Now imagine the other huge aspect added with the
Sudbury idea - not "made to do things" PLUS they own the building, the
staff, the processes; in short it's on *their* turf - I'm sure you can
imagine the huge fundamental differences we see between our students and
others.

Perhaps reading some of the books available from Sudbury Press might be
a good way to internalize what the Sudbury culture means and the impact
it has on the lives of students.

All the best,

joe
Received on Sat Feb 22 2003 - 15:13:49 EST

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