Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Extreme examples of traditional schools

From: Ryan Singer <>
Date: Thu Oct 6 19:09:00 2005

I work in Technology, and every time we talk about something new we have to
talk about a migration path to get from where we are now to where we want to
be. It is usually a good assumption that what we have was a good solution
for why it was chosen, but new needs make us evaluate new choices.

In education of children this simply isn't true. The public school system
was never better than what we had before it. Before public schools were
mandatory in the state of New York, the literacy rate was higher than it has
ever been since.

Children need the absolute freedom that allows them to follow their
curiosity to their interests without having to ask permission or be judged.
Without this, some degree of serious psychological damage is inevitable.
Given this need, only two methods of educating a child seem appropriate:

1. not sending them to school, but instead letting them use their time as
they see fit

2. sending them to a school that allows them to use their time as they see

The reason to opt for the second over the first is so that the child can be
exposed to a greater variety of peers and role models than they would find
at home and in the neighborhood. Another good reason would be because the
school would have more resources to assist the children who ask for help in
pursuing their interests and curiosity.

My experience in college was that students who were either homeschooled or
went to a sudbury-style school were much more mature and also more dedicated
than students from other public or private schools.

On 10/6/05, Karen Locke <> wrote:
> I've been in many arguments about "best" or "better" schooling with
> people,
> most of whom have an investment in not thinking their own particular model
> of schooling is inhumane. Just think about the first poster in this
> argument - "I know my school crushes creativity....." How does it feel to
> write or say those words? We all want our own efforts to be helpful and
> meaningful, to believe we are doing something basically good.
> I think of education as needing a variety of choices. I think Sudbury is
> on
> the cutting edge, as are schools like mine (online, project-based public
> school). We are trying to make an inroad into something entrenched. I want
> to recognize people for making strides, not only for reaching the end
> goal.
> That's what I try to do with kids - I want to extend it to adults too. We
> are trying to do our best, and looking for examples like Sudbury to help
> us
> do it a little better :)
> Karen
> > I've heard this argument; that military school is more
> > humane than 'humanistic' schools where there is a 'fun,
> > positive' atmosphere.
> >
> > The argument goes, that at *least* in a military school they
> > are telling you *straight* what is expected of you, and they
> > are only touching your body -- not your soul or sense of
> > self.
> >
> > Having never been in a military school, I don't feel
> > comfortable agreeing or disagreeing with this statement.
> > But I do want to agree with Woty's sentiments -- one of the
> > most painful aspects of my "humanistic" schooling was the
> > feeling that there was something wrong with *me* because I
> > didn't find the "humanistic" approach fun, positive, or
> > consensual (heck, think about the word 'consent' -- I want
> > to be active in my life, not to passively consent).
> >
> > On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Woty wrote:
> >
> >> Conventional schools make no bones about compelling children to do
> >> things. Humanistic schools compel children to pretend, and often to
> >> believe, that they are actually consenting, and are actually
> >> respected, and that the people in charge actually know and care
> >> what's best for the captive children. The children are lead to expect
> >> just treatment, and are then betrayed and badly mislead about justice
> >> and freedom.
> >>
> >> In other words -- in conventional schools, children are allowed to
> >> hate what they are compelled to do and no one insists to them that
> >> they are actually experiencing a fun, positive atmosphere. And people
> >> are far less likely to get offended and angry when a child doesn't
> >> want to do a carefully planned fun project about trees or participate
> >> in a fun group baking project.
> >>
> >> ~Woty
> >>
> >> On Oct 6, 2005, at 9:31, Mark MacFadyen wrote:
> >>
> >> > I've been reading some of the archives and noticed the examples of
> >> > traditional schooling are really extreme. Some of these schools
> >> > sound like they're right out of the dark ages. I teach in a privite
> >> > traditional school; however, we are very humanistic in our
> >> > approach, and I do a lot of project based learning. Kids go to the
> >> > bathroom whenever they like, and there is a fun, positive
> >> > atmosphere about the school. We help each other, learn together
> >> > cooperatively. Still, report cards, evaluating children, and many
> >> > other aspects of my traditional school are absolutely wrong. I know
> >> > my school crushes creativity, it is the worst possible model for
> >> > the education of children. But I want to make the point that, well,
> >> > traditional school doesn't have to = hell.
> >> >
> >> > Mark
> >
> > --
> >
> > --Scott David Gray
> > reply to:
> >
> > ============================================================
> > A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a
> > superficial appearance of being right.
> >
> > -- Thomas Paine
> > ============================================================
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
> >
> >
> >
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Ryan Singer
Received on Thu Oct 06 2005 - 19:08:37 EDT

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