Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] compulsory element of sudbury model

From: Tom Hall <>
Date: Sat Oct 8 09:25:01 2005

On Oct 7, 2005, at 1:56 PM, wrote:

> Also, you said,
> .... the decision of whether or not to
> attend a Sudbury school should always rest with the
> child. When given a choice to stay home with their
> parents and siblings, or go to a sudbury type school
> and hang out with other kids, I think most children
> would make the choice to go to the school with the
> knowledge that making this choice might mean giving up
> certain other freedoms that are not acceptable to the
> school.  
> I realize that the choice to attend is the kids'.  My unschooling
> kids - after learning that there could be compulsory attendance,
> decided against going to a sudbury school.  They were concerned they
> would have to give up too much of their own control of how they spent
> their days. They said they would feel limited - unable to follow their
> own interests to become involved in something else in the community or
> just hang out at home or be somewhere alone when they deemed it
> necessary.  Another part of their decision not to attend a sudbury,
> was their perceived lack of access to a larger community of people.
> Because of  compulsory attendance, an unschooler's access to the
> larger community is decreased.  
> Don't individuals benefit by having the right to move in and out of
> any community according to his or her own judgement?  Couldn't this
> actually improve the sudbury culture because it would allow an
> infusion of unschooling kids who already "get" freedom and
> responsibility at a larger community level? 
> Thank you,
> Molly Mancasola

So nice to see another round of discussion here!

I think there are many unschooled kids who prefer that status over
attending a sudbury type school.
Due to the inherent limitations of institutions, they have more
freedom and more choices.
Although the decision whether or not to attend a sudbury school SHOULD
rest with the child, it doesn't mean that it DOES.
I have found that even the most fervent believers in democratic schools
are not necessarily fervent believers in the rights of children to
decide things for themselves outside of school. In reality, isn't the
choice given to children often that of Sudbury schools or regular
schools (not sudbury school or no school, or sudbury school and the
freedom to do what they wish) ?

Compulsory attendance is mandated by the state. It is not a choice.
Although one can come up with many rationalizations as to why it's a
good thing, the fact remains: the school compels students to attend,
whether they wish to or not. If you are going to equate a normal type
school to "slavery", then I would say that compulsory attendance makes
the sudbury schools also "slavery", though of a much less destructive
kind (Although I'd rather get rid of the slavery analogy altogether.
I find it appallingly hypocritical, unless one is willing to apply it
to the overall status of children in our society, not just school)

over & out,
Received on Sat Oct 08 2005 - 09:24:47 EDT

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