Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Desperadoes

From: Richard Berlin <>
Date: Sat Apr 29 01:57:00 2006

Wasn't there a conflagration, early in the history of Sudbury Valley,
caused in part by a significant number of students who enrolled
expecting something closer to anarchy than democracy? I don't see how
it can be wrong to admit that the Sudbury culture can be spoiled by an
excess of individuals who enroll without due consideration about
whether they are able to commit to the basic tenets. Neither does it
seem wrong to point out that a fledgling school is both (a) more
susceptible to this harm than a large, stable school, and (b) less
likely to make the hard choice of enrolling only students/families who
can make the requisite commitment to the model.

And it is fair to label it as "failure" if a student leaves after a
couple of years? The pattern--of individuals who are severely damaged
by other schools coming to a Sudbury school and staying only a short
time--is certainly not something that is isolated to Cedarwood. E.g.
the concluding paragraph to Daniel Greenberg's essay on "Why Sudbury
Valley School Doesn't Work For Everyone: Real Learning Disabilities"
seems to describe exactly the same thing:

> Let me conclude by addressing the question of why Sudbury Valley isn't
> for everyone. The answer is that Sudbury Valley is for everybody in a
> stable, self-sustaining, post-industrial society where everyone is on
> board. It's not a special kind of school for special kids. It's really
> a place where people in their natural state can flourish. But because
> there are so many real disabilities that exist during this transition
> period in history, the full benefits of the school are basically
> available only to mavericks, to those who haven't sustained a lot of
> damage that's made them incapable of living in their evolutionary
> natural state. To be sure, a lot of people who have sustained some
> damage, if they stick it out, seem to get considerable benefit from
> being here. That's more than a little consolation. In a sense, they
> get a glimpse of the Promised Land, like Moses on the top of Mount
> Nebo, just before he died. He looked at the Promised Land and then he
> died. They get a view of what the school is about, and then they move
> on. We often hear that from former students, even those who have been
> here a very short time. It's our hope that as these benefits become
> more widely recognized and accepted, the whole culture will adapt, and
> the disabilities and damages will fade away.

-- Rich

On Apr 28, 2006, at 5:06 PM, Tay Arrow Sherman wrote:

> Hi, Stuart--
> I'm saddened to think that someone on this list would encourage anyone
> from turning away or avoiding students such as myself from schools
> such as the one it took me more than ten years to convince anyone I
> needed. No wonder your "desperadoes" left and failed... I'd be
> uncomfortable at best with any organisation that regarded me as a
> "problem" due to circumstances in my life over which I had no control.
> Cheers,
> Tay Arrow Sherman, SVS alum, desperado class of 1996


       . | "But there must be a way | .
      (i) | To have our children say: | (%)
    CC @ 33 | | CC @ 33
    (e) (:) | 'There are so many colors in a rainbow | (?) (})
     ` \ ' | So many colors in the morning sun | ` \ '
       | | So many colors in a flower | |
     \ | / | And I see every one.'" | \ | /
      \|/ | | \|/
     ~~~~~ | -- Harry Chapin, "Flowers are Red" | ~~~~~
Received on Sat Apr 29 2006 - 01:56:58 EDT

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