Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Scientific SVS

From: Bruce Smith <>
Date: Tue Jan 24 10:43:00 2006

On 1/24/06, Eva Lobach <> wrote:
> But ... wouldn't you like the medicins that you take to be tested for
> effectiveness, for instance, instead of basing your judgment on trust in
> the
> farmaceutical companies only?

Sure, I want my medicines tested, for safety as well as effectiveness, but
not if that means force-feeding them to every child under penalty of law
(with the exception of those children whose families possess the means to
buy their way out of this law).

Wouldn't you like to have a good plumber repairing your leaking roof instead
> of one who messes up?

Of course, but I'm not about to choose my plumber on the basis of his
standardized test scores or his GPA, or even his certification from the
plumbers' association. I'm going to talk to him/her, listen to my friends,
judge by the results, and make up my own mind -- subjectively.

<<But I agree that there are many limitations to any approach that tries to
measure, but if we don't, we will still be judging. >>
As the above examples suggest, judging and measuring are two completely
different things.

I respect Eva's argument, yet remain doubtful of the potential for
convincing authorities, or any invested in the status quo, of the
"objective" validity of the Sudbury model. Having said that, I'm
hardly opposed to the idea of amassing evidence supporting it. To me,
though, it seems unwise to bet against the house, trying to win their game
playing by their rules.

Frankly, I sometimes find my PR work frustrating, because the conventional
model seems so faulty, and the benefits of the Sudbury model so
stunningly obvious, I wonder why anyone would need pseudo-objective proof.

<<A measurement could simply be to count the number of people who report
they are leading happy and fulfilling lives, like Tay, and compare that
number for graduates of different schools.>>

Not a bad idea, but I'm sure those who want to defend conventional schooling
will find a way to invalidate such an approach (e.g., the Sudbury population
is self-selected, the sample size is too small, etc.).

<<To me it seems that the most honest way of trying to influence the trust
authorities is to find a relatively objective criterion that reflects what a
school like SVS does. Do you see another, equally or even more honest way?>>

But I don't see objectivity as honest for a model that places
self-evaluation above external evaluation. What seems far more honest to me
is acknowledging what's right in front of our eyes, that conventional
schooling is inherently inefficient if not inhumane, that its overall
results have never been satisfactory, and certainly that expecting this one
model to work for all children is either ignorant or arrogant.

Forty years of satisfied Sudbury alumni, added to my own observations and
experience, is all the proof I need.


"Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the
streets after them."
Bill Vaughn
Received on Tue Jan 24 2006 - 10:42:59 EST

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