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Date Posted: 10:57:06 01/08/03 Wed
Author: Ned Depew
Subject: Politics?!?

Friends -

My impression is that, in spite of the school's origins in a private family fortune and private philanthropy, the educational tenor of Scarborough was distinctly "progressive."

The adoption of the techniques of Madame Montessori - whose work was primarily with the disadvantaged, and was about self-discipline, self-discovery and self-direction - and the school's open admissions policy at a time when many private schools sought to be "exclusive," in the worst and most restrictive sense, seem to me indications of a real concern with social issues and with thoughtful self-evaluation and self-improvement as the goals of education.

Small classes and close relations between students and teachers promoted highly "personalized," problem-solving approaches to education, rather than a "method"-based one-size-fits-all approach, instilling the idea of individually-based, flexible, innovative responses to learning (and life) situations, rather than rote, idologically or philosophically based reflexes.

It certainly didn't hurt that Narcissa Vanderlip - Frank's widow, and the "founder" we honored each year - was a firebrand suffragette in her day, and a close associate of Eleanor Roosevelt for some time, as a fellow campaigner for women's rights and social justice.

For me, this early influence has translated into a lifelong affinity for progressive politics - for ways to realize the mottoes I was exposed to every school day for many years, and to live out the ideals of civilty and service they promoted.

I wonder how that has played itself out in the lives of others? What sort of politics do Scarborough graduates embrace today? What parts of that education do we use today when considering options and making choices?

I look forward to hearing others views and expereinces.


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