Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] 7 Lessons Taught in School

From: Scott David Gray <>
Date: Tue Nov 28 14:01:25 2006

On 11/28/06, Alan Klein <> wrote:
> Scott David,
> Three questions:
> 1. (The more in your face one) Where did Hanna and Danny's and Mimsy and
> Mike's kids go to school?

You know the answer to this facetious question. And I will, again,
include that same quote from Hanna:

> and above all it is a place in which they can make mistakes in privacy from their parents.
> (staff kids don't get the latter and it's really bad for them).

The staff by-and-large *recognize* that it is not ideal for them to be
staff in the school while their children attend. And it is interesting
to note that children of staff generally spend the whole day as *far*
away from their parents in the school as possible, and the staff
parents reciprocate.

It takes a staff to start and maintain a school. One wants and needs
that staff to be committed. A committed staff is likely to have
children. Those children are better off with parents in the school
than no school, but not as generally happy or fortunate as children at
school without their parents. Some parents who wanted to let their
children have an independent life, were fortunate enough to find
Sudbury Valley already functioing.

You, Alan, know my father. And you know that given the opportunity to
stay *out* of his son's way, while at the same time letting his son be
part of a free and equal community, was *glad* to capitalize on that
opportunity rather than starting a new school for his son. But not
every parent is so lucky.

> 2. (An actual question) Do you see this separation of parents from the
> day-to-day life of the school as an essential characteristic of "Sudbury
> schools", of SVS itself, and/or simply the (albeit consistent) wishes of
> School Meetings over time?

Yes to both.

Just as maintaining a free press is ultimately in the hands of the
American electorate, *and* in the same breath we would have no real
liberty *without* that freedom. A nation needs must have it in order
to be free, and by and large a free nation wants it.

A sudbury school by and large depends upon a clear community in the
school, and by and large students given the choice want it.

Some people don't want a sudbury school, and so instead form a parent
cooperatives. That is their business, I suppose. But, remembering my
youth, I am very glad that *I* was encouraged to be independent of my
parents -- I do not feel that I would have the same close caring
relationship with my father (my mother has passed away) if he had been
a staff at my school.

> 3. (Another actual question) Do you know for a fact that Neill created, or
> Zoe perpetuates Summerhill as a boarding school to "protect" kids form their
> parents, or is that a "reading between the lines" on your part?

It's been some time since I read Summerhill. But I recall Neill being
*very* clear. He wrote quite a bit about parents "spoiling" all the
work that he and the school did, and refusing to allow them on campus
when school was in session. And he made it clear that making himself
and his wife into substitute "parents" of a student body kept
boarding at the school, was key to the school's success.

> I come somewhere in the middle on this. My older daughter came to the
> Highland School when I worked there. She split time with me and her mother,
> so it was not full-time. This was, in my opinion and in hers, a largely
> positive experience. I also acknowledge the need for independence of thought
> and action in such situations and the obstacles that can arise.

So you know exactly what I am writing about, and what Hanna was referring to.

Hanna has observed that, however close loving and caring all the the
founding staff's relationships with their children are, to a man/woman
the children of founding staff have migrated hundreds of miles away
from their parents' homes, into other states and nations. She believes
that it isn't just coincidence, and that too much time together in
school is partly to blame.

> Thanks,
> ~Alan Klein
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott David Gray
> Sudbury schools are emphatically *not* interested in "protecting"
> children from parents in the manner of Summerhill (which is a boarding
> school for exactly that reason). And, in fact, parents and extended
> family are welcome for occasional casual visits *much* more readily
> than in traditional schools. But students and staff in the various
> School Meetings have, by and large, spoken that they want a separate
> community at the school during the day -- rather than operating as
> "drop off centers" for homeschooling parents.

-- Scott David Gray
Received on Tue Nov 28 2006 - 13:55:14 EST

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