DSM: High School Harm

Joe Jackson (shoeless@erols.com)
Fri, 4 Feb 2000 16:33:50 -0500

> In my
> opinion, someone who will acknowledge that there actually is a
> problem with
> the system is someone worth your time. In my opinion, opening a dialogue
> with such a person seems prudent. I fail to see the purpose that
> is served
> in shutting such a person out.

I think that's actually the problem - time. It's so difficult to muster the
time and resources to bring Sudbury Model schooling to the attention of the
folks out there who would actually be open to it, I don't see wasting time
by trying to seek out and recruit people currently involved with
conventional schooling who have doubts.

I think my mentality has evolved to the point where we should do our
"extroverted" type PR to big audiences (e.g. advertising), and allow our
one-on-one "dialogues" to "come to us" via talkabouts and open houses. The
reason for this is that in our experiences, while striking up conversations
with people in the mainstream education bidness might make for jolly good
sport, it practically never leads anywhere. If those people are likely to
ever do anything besides continuing to be (however ambivalent and
well-meaning) participants in the conventional school machine, they will
eventually come to us. If they need for someone to engage them in a
dialogue in order to sink their teeth into the model, then it's not
resonating with them hard enough that they will stay hooked for the long

So it's not that there is a purpose to "shutting people out", it's that
pursuing a dialogue with an individual keeps me from what I really need to
do - get the word out to people who really need this kind of school; people
that you would have to shoot at to keep them away. Those are the people
that I want at Fairhaven.

As far as acknowledging that conventional schools are sometimes better for
kids than Sudbury schools, I quite simply would be lying if I said I thought
that. There's a big problem in our culture that no matter how otherwise
sensible & capable of relativism you are, all you have to do is have one
opinion that's firm & absolute and people think you're an asshole and write
you off. I happen to think that with the exception of _some_
highly-impaired kids, Sudbury schools are _always_ better for kids.

If I'm talking to someone as Joe Jackson, I'm always going to honestly
relate my opinions about education and Sudbury schooling - to do otherwise
would be unfair to the person to whom I'm talking. I think it's OK if they
disagree or are even threatened by it, but if they walk away merely as a
result of disagreement then that's on them.

-Joe Jackson
See Fairhaven School's website at

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