RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill

From: Hector Ortega <>
Date: Wed Feb 26 16:23:01 2003

Thanks to everyone who has replied to my questions.

I personally agree with what you're saying. After
much reading (including most of the free texts
available in the SVS web site) and thinking about
these questions I feel pretty confident that the SVS
model would work much better for any group of kids.
Two chapters in Freedom and Beyond which deal with the
problem of poverty helped me to understand and
satisfactorily answered these doubts. Still, to
further play devil's advocate, I understand that kids
from all socio-economic classes have been succesful
through the Sudbury schools. However, it seems
evident that the vast majority of them do not live in
poverty, and most importantly, do not come from homes
where they are abused or in general where they hardly
have any rights or freedom. How confident can
educators, teachers, or anyone interested in reforming
schools be that the Sudbury school model would be even
possible in areas where most kids live under such
conditions. Not that kids who have such problem are
less intelligent, but doesn't it make sense to suspect
that the damage inflicted at home could become evident
at school, where much conflict might be created to the
point of jeopardizing the school environment. And
isn't it likely that the pain suffered at home might
make the kids less inclined to learn or retain their
innate interest in life and the world, even when a
free environment is provided to them for half of their
waking hours? I think a lot of people that I've
talked to would say that the current traditional
schools must be reformed to allow more freedom, more
democracy, more humane ways to treat the students,
more options, more ways to allow them to pursue their
interests, etc. They might even feel that the SVS
model could work in most communities where most of the
kids' home environments would not present a sharp
contrast to their school environment. Some might say,
I'm not implying that we should treat the kids the
same way their are treated at home, kids certainly
benefit from being treated better at school if home is
a 'concentration camp' (and in fact I can honestly say
that, as horrible as traditional schools are, some
kids get better treatment there than at home). I
think most people would be feel cautious about
openning a school which would be in such a stark
contrast to the home environment of the kids. They
might conclude that under those circumstances it is
risky to implement the SVS model, that there would
need to be, at least in the beginning, some level of
compulsion. I think most people who do agree with
school reform would rather 'proceed with caution' when
dealing with groups of kids who historically have not
fared too well in school.



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Received on Wed Feb 26 2003 - 16:22:23 EST

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