Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Fw: Paul Graham - Why Nerds Are Unpopular (The Sociology of Compulsory State Schools)

From: <>
Date: Thu Jan 1 16:07:00 2004

In our mainstream society people just assume that kids don't like school. It never occurs to them that kids are natural learners, and if they hate their school there is probably something wrong with their school.

I remember even discussing this with John Holt after he had given up on reforming schools and had written "Teach Your Own." He didn't understand that children could actually want to go to school until he visited our school in Vermont.

We had a a serious rule that "You can't stay after school unless you're good!" I even have video of a meeting of some students fighting for their right to stay after school. One year they tried to vote out the Summer vacation, and we met once a week in the Summer until the staff said they weren't coming in any more--THEY needed the break.

Jerry Mintz

<<This is Brian King a staff member from Big Rock Sudbury School in Marin
California.  Here is my students two cents.

1) At our school the school meeting sets the vacation days. The school
meeting is made up of  staff and all of our 13 students. Usually on three
staff can be at the meetings, therefore the staff are out voted, so the
students set the vacation days. A 10 year old girl made a motion to make
Halloween a four day weekend, I call for a second, there was just silence. A
14 year old boy said "Why would we want to stay home when we could be here"

2) The students do not want to leave at the end of the day. It has been
problematic that the staff can never get out on time because the students do
not want to leave.

3) One student complained about winter break being 2 weeks long "Why can't
it be just one week -- one week is long enough."

4) One girl said "It would be great if we could be here on Saturday too"

5) A person wanting to do a documentary on our students asked the students
when is the end of the school day. One girl said we have to leave at 4:00.
An other said the staff wants to leave at 4:00.  Not a one said we get to
leave at...

6) Our students only have to put in 4 hrs a day most put in 6 hrs and some
put in 8 1/2 ? most students that start as part time end up being full time.

7) A 15 year old boy went on a extended trip to Florida -- he and his mom
told me that he wanted to be in school and that he whished that he had not
forgot his excel books

8) On the most part if a student is sick it is the students that calls up to
say that they are not going to be in school and if a kid is out for more
then about 3 days they call just to talk to the others and find out what is
going on.

These kids are not coming from bad homes so it is not that they are faced
with something worse then school it is just that they are not forced to go
to school -- it is a place where both students and staff want to be there.
When the students were interviewed before enrolment they were all asked if
they wanted to come to school here ? so that is the one common thread ? they
all want to go to this school.

I think you get the point


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Rovner" <>
To: <>; <jodyfeav_at_LIGHTLINK.COM>
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 10:50 AM
Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Fw: Paul Graham - Why Nerds Are Unpopular
(The Sociology of Compulsory State Schools)

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David & Jody Feavearyear" <jodyfeav_at_LIGHTLINK.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 6:48 PM
> Subject: Re: Paul Graham - Why Nerds Are Unpopular (The Sociology of
> Compulsory State Schools)
> > Erin Riopel wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I really don't think there's any way to fix the problem of kids having
> > > to be forced to go to school. Even if school wasn't a torturous place,
> > > I don't see why children would *choose* to go there six hours a day,
> > > five days a week.
Received on Thu Jan 01 2004 - 16:06:33 EST

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