Guest post by Jess

Today Jess had a few things to say about a blog post (and comments) linked below about a new Sudbury School that is hoping to open in the Boston metro area in Fall 2014:
Would the Joan Rubin School be an Educational Disaster?

Here are Jess’s responses (also found in the comments section in the URL above). Food for thought.


November 4, 2013
Beliefs are one thing…facts are another. To keep calling the Sudbury model an “experiment” after 45 years strikes me as a bit odd, especially given the current “traditional” model is only about 150 years old. Before that, learning took place in the home and community, through apprenticeships, etc. To act as if the current system is a time-honored enshrined concept is to ignore history. The Greeks were doing something much closer to what the Sudbury model does than what the traditional model attempts to do. But I digress…you want the facts, there are numerous books, cds, dvds, talking about the school, the alums, the ins and outs. But alas, the author of this article seems a bit stuck on his own personal experience, so, in that vein, I’ll share mine. I was traditionally schooled and I remember precisely nothing. What did I learn in all those years of math class? That I’m dumb, particularly in math. The rest is all forgotten and I have, since college, pursued what I’m interested in and learned lots and lots along the way, as I want, when I want. I am an employed, functioning, happy adult. The 12 years of school were, for me, not only an utter waste of my time, but completely demoralizing. It wasn’t until college where I had a modicum of freedom that I realized I was pretty good at learning and could learn happily when given the freedom. What I observed in college is that most of the kids I knew (all traditionally schooled) sucked, really sucked, at learning. They had no idea how to study, to organize, to write a paper, etc. The professors were pulling their hair out. Traditional school had not prepared them. So, rather than focusing on the supposed horrors of a model which people don’t even understand, how about focusing on the utter failures of a “traditional” system which has long been broken?

November 4, 2013
BTW, the tabula rasa theory of children, which I thought had been put to bed, is a poor excuse indeed for forcing small humans to learn deathly boring subjects which they have no interest in. Also, I’d just like to point out that the subjects that are chosen are, well, chosen…why biology and not botany, why algebra and not agriculture, why trig and not basic finance? I could go on. The notion that the curriculum chosen by well-meaning adults is actually going to prepare kids for a future we can’t even predict is silly at best, foolhardy at worst.


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