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

From: Joe Jackson <>
Date: Wed Feb 26 20:01:00 2003


Interesting points.

In fact, a great many of the students that have come through Fairhaven
School have less-than optimum backgrounds in terms of family stability.
In fact, I would say on average our students have less home stability
than most conventional schools I have been exposed to.

Unfortunately, there's not a way to measure stability in the home, so if
you're looking for a statistic-based way of illustrating that the model
is as, more, or less effective than conventional schooling with students
from unstable homes, I'd say it's not going to happen.

However, it seems to me that you are mixing "low-income families" and
"poverty" rather freely with "abuse" and lack of "rights or freedom" in
the home. I want you to know that you're probably not going to be able
to get me to a place where one is systemically tied to the other. While
many of our families fall below the poverty level for our area, I don't
think abuse or denial of rights and freedom are parts of these families.

On the other hand, abuse and a lack of rights and freedom are conditions
that I first-hand associate with many middle- and upper-middle class
families of conventional schoolers I know.

But there is no doubt whatsoever that our schools attract an INORDINATE
number of students who would likely be considered "damaged" goods in a
traditional setting. And these students, given time in the school, do
just wonderfully. Can that be measured? No - sorry. Can't measure a

So to all the people who would, in your words, rationalize a million
ways a day how the model wouldn't work in this way or that, yes, that's
the general reaction the educational establishment has to our model.
Everything they are is supported by some number somewhere, and of course
statistics are the reason why conventional schools work so well. :)

Anyway, the things that are the best things about Sudbury are precisely
the things which cannot be measured. They can only be felt by absorbing
the culture: by being there, reading stories of what goes on in the
schools, talking to students, grads, parents, staff members.

Statistics are what the coercive schoolers do. It's their game. Let
them keep it.


Joe Jackson
Received on Wed Feb 26 2003 - 20:00:01 EST

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