Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] variations on the model in practice

From: Todd Pratum <>
Date: Fri Apr 8 14:46:00 2005
  Thank you for this.  I feel really frustrated right now because I can tell by your statement here that I am not being understood!
You say that "that you feel that you are a better arbiter of their activities than they are"  That "you will never come to agree with a Sudbury education"  But this is way off from what I am about!   The point I have been trying to make here is that I trust kids in almost all situations.  I will say that again, I trust kids in almost all situations.  I am the parent of a nine year old and he is almost totally in control of his life, almost!  There are a few areas where I feel that he needs guidance.  But I realize that even that is to much for Sudbury.  It is just a matter of degrees.  I am starting a school where there will be no homework, no grades, no tests, where children will be in total control of their day, (with some exceptions, no pornography, no violence, etc).  Kids know better than I what they need, I firmly believe this.  My whole argument was about encouragement.   I feel very frustrated with email these days.  I've invested a lot of time in this exchange yet I get email where people tell me that "I don't trust kids"  etc etc.  So frustrating.  I am a radical, my school will be more democratic than any of the nearly 100 schools on the East Bay (with the exception of Diablo), yet I have been attacked here for not adhering to EVERY doctrine of Sudbury, and badly misunderstood.  The 13 points that Scott posted really put me off, but I'm still trying.  I am founding a democratic school and I would like a little support from SVS people but I have had zero.  The SVS postings remind me more of my old school teachers, always sure its the KIDS problem, not the teachers.  SVS is so sure of its self, its really quite troubling, more like an exclusive club.  But I am still trying for a dialogue here.   Todd Pratum.
Jeff Collins wrote:

It is very clear by a number of your statements in this and previous emails that you really do not agree with a fundamental aspect of Sudbury education or democratic education.  It is clear that you don't completely trust the kids to make their own decisions and choices, that you feel that you are a better arbiter of their activities than they are.  I point this out not because I think there is anything wrong with this belief, after all this is the basis of the compulsory education system that is prevalent in our public schools, but to illustrate why I think you will never come to agree with a Sudbury education.

As a Sudbury staff member, I personally believe that children can and should be trusted to make their own choices.  I don't feel that I am any more able to determine a child's path in life than the child is to determine their own path.  I don't feel that I am in any way superior to a child.  The only real difference between me and the students at my school is that I am older and more experienced than they are.  However, I don't feel this age and experience gives my the carte blanche right to tell someone what they should be doing.  If they ask my opinion, I will give it and give it with the full understanding that they may choose to totally ignore me.

Jeff Collins
Hudson Valley Sudbury School

Todd Pratum wrote:

Dear Karen,
  I agree that we should let kids decide, _for the most part_, what THEY think is good for them.  But TV is--according to many experts and many with common sense--a unique and complicated situation.  Can children decide what food is best for them?  (Doritos vs apples?)  What about nudity and touching?  Can children pick out good quality furniture as opposed to cheap poorly made furniture?  Can they tell what adults will respect them and what adults will abuse them?  TV looks simple but it is very complicated, way too complicated for a child to understand. Yes, we all grew up with it, but what kind of people would we be if instead of watching TV when we were kids, instead we did something else like play in the woods or daydreamed?  How does TV effect our imagination?  These are the questions many forward thinking people are asking.  Todd Pratum.

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Received on Fri Apr 08 2005 - 14:37:08 EDT

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