Re: [savesummerhill] [Discuss-sudbury-model] [democratic-schools-israel] Is this correct?

From: Brian King <>
Date: Sun May 11 13:15:00 2003

I did not know that what I said was that important. Globalization a three
letter word -- hum?

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Rovner" <>
To: <>; <>;
<>; "Civil Society in Israel"
<>; "Hellen Soriano"
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2003 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: [savesummerhill] [Discuss-sudbury-model]
[democratic-schools-israel] Is this correct?

> Chris, Carol and Brian,
> I hope you don't mind if I try to create some contact between this three
> discussion lists: after all the three of them basically refer to
> schools.
> Hopefully NOT globalization (even though I think globalization shouldn't
> seen as a three letter word),
> ~ David
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Brian King
> To:
> Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2003 6:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Is this correct?
> Hi All
> I am from the Marin startup (which will open it's doors this fall as Big
> Rock)-- I have taught in both large and small high schools (Bloomington
> school 900 freshmen about 3500 total students, Colusa High 350 and
> Lone Pine High 120 students). Here is my 2 cents. I also had the
> misconception that small schools do not create alienated and apathetic, or
> hostile and vengeful young people. In a small school in a small town the
> kids grow up together sharing the same playpen and traveling together as a
> group as they go through the system of public school. As the group grows
> it develops it's own personality good or bad. I teach science where all
> are in a single science class and all 10th are in single science class,
> classes are required. On the first day of class with the 9th graders I
> them introduce themselves and tell me what they do for hobbies or fun. As
> we started around the room the first girl said "gossip" and like popcorn
> students were saying "ya - gossip that is all there is to do in this town"
> "if there is nothing to talk about then you can make it up". In fact, the
> interim superintendent at his going away party told a joke about gossip in
> this small town. This class was boasting about how bad they (the class of
> '05) are and how many of their teachers go on disability or take early
> retirement; and how they can get teachers canned. I have worked with that
> group of kids for two years and I have never seen a group of students that
> are so mean to each other. It being a small school the kids that are on
> "out" have no place to go. I have seen them terrorize new kids or just
> that move from being "in" to "out" until they drop out. Two years ago a
> parent was accused of molesting one of the girls. Another girl
> with her in the accusation. It went all the way to trial. During the trial
> the "victim" admitted the she made it up because the two girls were mad
> because he would not buy them beer. I have had other parents tell me that
> the same thing happened to them, with other girls from this class (the
> being in elementary school at the time). I have seen this class walk out
> a sub because they did not want to do the classwork.
> There is a nucleus of girls that have strong personalities and are mean
> spirited and a group of kids that are followers. The kids that want to be
> serious about their studies do not have a chance.
> Bottom line is there are dysfunctional big schools and good big schools.
> Big schools can offer more opportunities but kids can get lost in a big
> school. There are good small schools and dysfunctional small schools. With
> the right support teachers can more easily change the material to best
> the individual. But in a small school the students have no choice but
> all of their classes with the same students, good or bad.
> If there are hostile and vengeful students or staff there will be
> alienated and apathetic students and staff.
> Brian
> From: Carol Hughes
> To:
> Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2003 4:12 PM
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Is this correct?
> "more easily avoid the risk of creating the large numbers of alienated
> apathetic, or hostile and vengeful young people associated with large
> schools."
> Hi David,
> How incredibly simplistic and ridiculous this idea is. I am so weary of
> the educational aristrocracy's inability to speak intelligently to all the
> adjectives above mentioned. While it is somewhat encouraging that the
> "avoid the risk of creating" are implying some willingness to take
> responsibility for the obnoxious results the current school system is now
> getting, how silly to decide that the numbers of students will somehow
> magically change the dynamic.
> I have personally experienced some great teaching and studying at so
> a school as Boston University. However, when it gets right down to it a
> good learning experience is always somehow an intimate setting of a few
> people. A much smaller school of U Mass Lowell which had a curriculum
> a good reputation for putting out good music teachers, was a dreadful
> education, very very disappointing. I dropped out after one year. The
> curriculum was ironically keeping me busy with mandated dry courses that
> would not in any way contribute to my ability to teach music. There was
> time in my schedule left to play the piano which is my instrument.
> Large schools can and do have more money oftentimes and can therefore
> offer wonderful opportunities. I have seen good and bad in large and
> schools. So?
> It is, in my opinion, the fundamental belief that children are empty
> vessels into which one must pour certain information in a particular way
> order for them to turn out functional and succesful human beings that is
> problem. It never ceases to amaze me that educators and parents who spend
> any amount of time with children can stick with this premis.
> Democracy is a natural desire in people. Everyone wants a voice,
> knowledge, their own power, a place in society that has meaning. This is
> of a large or small group of people. And you can bet that if you put
> together on a regular basis, they will move heaven and earth to "get their
> way", because that it what we do. Large groups naturally break themselves
> up into small groups. Frankly, it's not even optional.
> The information is there, the students are there, the truth is there.
> must as a society stop looking to fear of something for a motivating
> in how the schools will be governed or organized. What I value most about
> Sudbury Valley School is good old fashioned guts. Every day is an
> Sometimes that is wonderful, sometimes it's very tough. But, oh, is it
> and powerful.
> School is mandatory. Large numbers of students exist. Budgets and
> buildings and teacher's unions are the main focus in the American Public
> School system. It is a great tragedy that children are not being
> celebrated, encouraged, nurtured in their learning process. I sometimes
> can't bear the tension I see in my six year old piano students. They are
> totalling freaked out and worried about making a mistake, about getting
> approval, about what I might say and do. I recently told a six year old
> that if he didn't like a piece in his lesson book, then he could just skip
> it. There's lots of other music he could play. He looked at me
> incredulous, "Are you sure?". Yes, I'm sure, but his question breaks my
> heart.
> Size of classroom, size of school, give me a break. Children can only
> taught self-respect while being treated with respect. I had straight
> and an F in conduct on my first grade report card. The teacher even
> marked the F. Guess I ticked her off. I used to finish my work quickly
> (those darn Dick and Jane books) and all I was given to do was crayons to
> color the books. I would cover every inch of the page with color. That
> teacher was a dictator. It was a very small school. No democracy there.
> But still, I never stopped wanting it.
> Okay, so I've rambled a bit. You asked, I reasoned.
> Carol
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "knowbody" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2003 2:22 AM
> Subject: Re: [savesummerhill] Is this correct?
> > Thanks David, for your last couple of posts. The pages I've read from
> > 'Natural Parent magazine' are great. Regarding Small schools the
> > seems fine to me. Democratic Intention is key and I feel consensus is
> > democratic than voting. Consensus is easier to reach with smaller
> > Accordingly I feel small schools have more capacity to be genuinely
> > democratic than large ones.
> >
> > Chris (Hunt)
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "David Rovner" Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2003 6:15 AM
> > Subject: [savesummerhill] Is this correct?
> >
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Is the following declaration correct?
> > >
> > > ~ David
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------------
> > > Small Schools and Democratic Practice
> > >
> > > by Clive Harber
> > >
> > > Small schools are an international experience, for they exist in large
> > countries and small, rich countries and poor. They also exist in public
> > sectors and private. Despite being so common, they have both advocates
> > opponents. Those in favour applaud their personal atmosphere and their
> > democratic role at the centre of local communities. Those against
> > the accountants' claim that they have high unit costs, a claim that is
> > dispute. It is also asserted that they can only offer a restricted
> > curriculum, a claim increasingly weakened by the changes in
> > and computer technology.
> > > The issue of school size is not merely a matter of numbers. Comparing
> > authoritarian schools that happen to be small, with authoritarian
> > that are large, in terms of which is most 'effective', results in a
> > debate because deliberate and planned attempts to create small schools
> have
> > often been associated with aims and values quite different from those
> found
> > in the majority of larger schools.
> > >
> > > This book, therefore, examines the issue of school size in relation to
> > democratic ideology of education. What is it about a small school that
> > facilitates the development of democratic behaviours and values? Small
> > schools, it is argued, may well be a better investment for contemporary
> > society because they can more easily educate for the democratic and
> flexible
> > people required for the next century, and more easily avoid the risk of
> > creating the large numbers of alienated and apathetic, or hostile and
> > vengeful young people associated with large schools.
> > >
> > > Dr. Clive Harber is Professor of Education,University of Natal.
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Received on Sun May 11 2003 - 13:14:43 EDT

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