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In response to Stiven Foster’s letter (The Mail, 6/20) about “No More Pencils, No More Books” (6/13): Kids have been graduating from Sudbury schools such as Fairhaven for 35 years, and in all that time, learning how to take tests (or remembering how to take them, if they’d previously attended traditional schools) hasn’t, for most of them, been a big deal. Sudbury students tend to be problem-solvers. Never taken a test? They can practice before they graduate, or study for the SATs, or quickly learn in college. Never written a term paper? They can ask for advice, or read a book, or look it up.
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The advantage our graduates tend to have over traditionally educated kids is that they’re motivated by enthusiasm, curiosity, and self-confidencenot resignation, boredom, or anxiety. Little kids come to Fairhaven unafraid and enthusiastic, and they usually stay that way. They don’t get dulled-down, hostile, or fearful. Sudbury students have done very well in many mainstream colleges and universities, not just alternative colleges.
Does a Sudbury education prevent “that sense of floundering in their 20s”? Well, not always. We aren’t magic! In fact, a little floundering in one’s 20s isn’t such a bad thing. Trying things without fearing failure, being adventurous and resilient and persistent, is part of what people learn at Sudbury schools.
Fairhaven School staff member