Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] socioeconomic status of staff

From: Bruce Smith <>
Date: Thu Oct 30 09:16:01 2003

At 10:46 PM 10/29/2003 -0500, Liz wrote:
>I feel that no one has really addressed the elephant in the room, and that
>is the concern that's been raised about the ability of people who are not
>financially well-off to take the path necessary to become a part of the
>Sudbury community...I too am having trouble seeing how anyone but the
>affluent or the ascetic could go through the necessary getting-to-know-you

Joe and I have both covered this, though perhaps not as clearly as we
might. At Alpine Valley, as I said, a staff candidate could do one 30-hour
visiting week. How much of a hardship is it for someone to take one week
off from work? Not to say that it doesn't require some effort (how many
worthwhile things don't?), but in Liz's post I read an impression that
every school always requires an extended visiting period, and that is
simply not the case.

Another option is for a prospective staff to visit part-time for a longer
period, thus enabling them to work part- or even full-time at a paying job
while they visit. Is 10-15 hours/week of volunteer work a hardship? Bottom
line, the visiting period doesn't necessarily require that someone "quit
their job or take an extended leave of absence,"or move in with their
parents or any other such nightmare. :-)

>I am curious as to whether anyone on the list is willing to give a
>synopsis of the typical hiree's socioeconomic status.

I'm a little reluctant to do this, for two reasons. One is that I hesitate
to divulge much personal financial information regarding myself or my
colleagues. I appreciate the desire for knowledge here, but at the moment
at least I am not comfortable revealing tax-return information; it feels
too invasive, too private. Suffice it to say that many of us struggle to
make ends meet, and many of us are blessed to have spouses who contribute
significantly to the family income. The rare needle in the haystack might
have their own huge pile o' money, but I don't need more than my thumbs to
count the one(s) I know in the whole Sudbury movement. And of course, who
knows how many additional ways people find to make this work.

That leads to my second reason for holding back somewhat: there is no
"typical hiree's socioeconomic status" any more than there is a typical
student, or a typical school day. It is very difficult, if not impossible,
to generalize on these things.

Some financial risk and/or sacrifice is required, it seems, for most staff;
but being "financially well-off" enough to live as a staff member --
certainly, to _become_ a staff member -- is far more attainable than one
might imagine.

Received on Thu Oct 30 2003 - 09:15:18 EST

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