Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] What gives the state the right to *make us* go to school in the first place?

From: Sally Rosloff <>
Date: Tue Aug 9 15:23:00 2005

Hi Reb,
I've been organizing old emails and came across this one of yours. Did you
ever have a chance to post the outcome of this? I don't remember seeing
anything further.

I'm interested because I've been thinking along these lines myself...about
these legal issues and any remote possibility of bringing lawsuits against
the current system, particularly as the NCLB requirements require more and
more conformance to a single standard across the country. At least a
discussion of these issues, as you've raised them, can be consciousness

I know that before I got my "consciousness raised" I never really
questioned that the education of the public school system wasn't anything
but something desirable and appropriate to becoming an adult member of a
democratic society. Boy, have I come a long way! Now I question the right
of states to withhold public funding for any but basically one system,
developed without public input, coming with regulations, guidelines, laws,
rules, one-size fits all, etc. I want public funding for "many paths" and
would love to discuss the legalities of this.


At 12:00 AM 9/3/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi list,
>For those who don't know me, I'm a former staff member at a couple of Sud
>schools, who decided to take my work for juvenile justice, education
>reform, and youth advocacy through legal channels. I am now in my second
>year of law school and am in my first course on "education law and
>We began class with a discussion of some of the legal / government
>structure that underpins the establishment of "free" public schooling.
>Before moving on to consider a "students'" rights, I have asked my
>professors, and my classmates to consider "what makes people *students* in
>the first place?" Or, more accurately, what legally justifies
>*compelling* people to attend school, and requiring them to submit
>themselves (without a hearing) to the physical control of their teachers
>(who are agents of the state) and to the ideology of the state-mandated
>curriculum? This seems to run counter to the (U.S.) Constitution's
>prohibition against depriving individuals of their liberty (without due
>I expect there will be some attempt to shrug off the question and its
>asker as conspiracy theorist in nature. I know so many of us have been
>compelled by our government(s) to attend school, that we don't even tend
>to see that compulsion as an infringement on our liberty.
>But I know many of you have given the matter thought from a different
>So I ask you. What gave the state the right to *make us* go to school in
>the first place?
>I know the government would have a hard time convincing anybody it could
>institutionalize grown men and women for 6 hours a day, 180 days a year,
>for ten or more years, without a trial.
>Is it simply because the people in question are under 18 that we (via the
>state govt.) can do this to them?
>Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter.
> Direction to any texts, articles, court decisions. . . that address this
>matter would also be helpful.
>And if anyone expresses an interest, I'll let you know what my class has
>to say.
>Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Received on Tue Aug 09 2005 - 15:22:03 EDT

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