Sun, 9 Jan 2000 21:59:26 EST
Yes, the tuition is important, but the main reason for parents having a vote,
and a say, is that they are the most important influence in their kids'
lives, far more important than any school, and they have a lot of wisdom.
(They also have legal rights to make decisions for their children.)
I guess I have trouble imagining a Sudbury school without of parental
influence in the Assembly, although I have often felt worried that it might
not be used wisely (i.e., as I thought it should be!). However, thus far (32
years), the Assembly has never been a disappointment, though the percentage
of people interested in participating swings between low and medium,
depending (of course) on the issues.
The Assembly at Blue Mountain School, which is publicly funded, is quite
involved in decision making, so that is my only real experience in this
country with a situation analogous to what you mentioned. I do think it
makes sense for the people who are responsible for the institution to have a
say, and usually they will be responsible even if the institution is not
using their money. For instance, if parents didn't want Blue Mountain, it
would not longer be funded.
If the student is living alone, until s/he is 18 years of age the parents are
voting members of the Assembly. If a student happens to live with
non-parents, the parents are still voting members of the Assembly. There
have been occasions on which non-parents who are intimately involved in a
child's life have been voted in as public members, and gotten a vote that
way, but very few.
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