“I am not interested in blaming students, or parents, or teachers, or anyone else. I am interested in understanding what is happening, and why, and what we as individuals and as a society can do to improve the situation.”
Daily Archives: November 25, 2015
Our family loves SVS, but I am not sure I buy the argument that there are (FOR SURE) a higher percentage of graduates who are entrepreneurs than there are at other schools.
At least not BECAUSE OF Sudbury Valley. Well, maybe. But… here’s what I think:
1. Many students who attend SVS or other Sudbury schools probably are correlated with types of people who go on to be entrepreneurs. So it’s not SVS… it’s the people.
2. Also, many of the parents who choose to have their young kids attend SVS even before they have an inkling of their personalities, but rather based on the ideals of the school only (like my wife and I who knew we wanted SVS for our kids even before it existed) are probably also skewed toward entrepreneurial dispositions, so their kids inherit some of that.
I say “probably” in 1 and 2 above, but who knows. Switch that with “maybe” if you wish. Point is, we don’t know.
If you look at Table 14.7 on page 241 of “Legacy of Trust: Life After The Sudbury Valley School Experience”, 7 of 27 of the “SVS ONLY” category are classified as “Entrepreneurial Occupations (Any Category)”. That’s 26%. That’s probably still high (no way are 26% of the population entrepreneurs**…), but is it high among kids whose parents who are similarly entrepreneurial and able to afford private school but attend other schools? (SVS is very inexpensive as private schools go… ~$8,000, but not free).
Anyway, I guess my point is that this is an unknown as far as I am concerned, but this doesn’t concern me. What I *do* care is that my kids ARE FREE. AND HAPPY. RIGHT NOW. At ages 4-18. Not waiting for age 18.
So for me, SVS has some huge “every day, right now” positives, which will also certainly pay benefits for my kids in later happiness as well. And sure, it might have some “some day in the future, maybe” negatives. But for me the positives FAR outweigh any potential negatives, especially because they are completely uncertain.
**NOTE: I am also not sure what the definition anyone is using of entrepreneur. To me it’s not simply being self-employed. It has to (for me) include a business venture where one is taking on more risk with most of the work being delegated to employees and such.) See discussion: LINK
(The following is a transcript of a question asked after an alumni talk at Sudbury Valley School one evening in 2008. Video below.)
Q (from audience): “Is Sudbury Valley School for everyone?”
A: (former student, Hal Sadofsky): “Lots of times I talk to people about the school and they sorta say, “Well, didn’t your parents worry about this? Didn’t they worry about taking this big chance by sending you to this really weird place and what was going to happen?” And I try to sort of turn it on it’s head–I say, “Well, it seems to me that the people who should be worried are the people who are sending their kids to a traditional school. It’s not that you can be *sure* that if you send your kids to a traditional school that something terrible will happen, but you’re taking a big risk. [Be]cause what you’re doing is you’re taking this kid and you’re saying ‘OK, from now on, you don’t get to decide things, other people decide things for you.’ And maybe, maybe after 12 years of that, your kid comes out all right, but it’s a big chance to take. Sudbury Valley–I think–is no risk at all.”
Q: “…I don’t think it’s quite so black and white…”
A: (Hal Sadofsky) “I don’t think it’s black and white that if you go to a traditional school that something disastrous will always happen to you. But to me, it does seem black and white that traditional school is the risky scenario where things can come out in many unfortunate ways, and that Sudbury Valley is a sort of relatively healthy and safe scenario. That’s the sense in which I see it as black and white.”
— Hal Sadofsky, former student
from video: Part 11 of 13, 25th anniversary talk by alumni about SVS
SVS 25th ann Restrospective 11 – Questions pt2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlU68Dq15hQ (at 1min15sec)
(And there’s more great stuff in there as well of course…)