Re: Responsible People

Dale R. Reed (
Sun, 01 Dec 1996 06:51:59 -0800

In a message dated 96-11-24 00:31:43 EST, Dale R. Reed writes to Mimsy
(regarding SVS):

<< somewhere in the world there are children being taught to be
responsible for their own lives. >>

Hi, all:

Do we have to "teach" this? Or may we simply allow it to occur?
btw, is what I believe happens at SVS.)

And if we do that, would we need to <<cause [italics mine] hundreds of
millions of others to do the same(be responsible for themselves)>> ?
they do it on their own if we stopped interfering?

I wholeheartedly agree that then <<the world would be a happier more
prosperous place to live. >>

and Dale replies starting with defining the terms using the Random House

school 1. A place or institution for teaching and learning

Teach 1. to give instruction in
2. to give instruction to
3. to help to learn, as by example

Responsible 1. answerable or accountable as for something
within ones
2. involving duties and obligations
3. being the cause or reason for something
4. liable for fulfilling a duty

I think we have a thread started on what "responsibility" means to each
of us but there is no question in my mind that responsibility is taught
in Sudbury Valley Schools.

SVS is a school so it is a place where teaching and learning occurs. I
am re-reading "And Now for Something Completely Different. . . An
Introduction to Sudbury Valley School," bookmarking those pages where
the word "responsibility" is used. I am beginning to think it would of
saved me a lot of bookmarks if I was bookmarking those pages where the
word "responsibility" was not used!

Sudbury sent me a copy of an article from the Wednesday, February 7,
1996 USA Today written by John Larrabee that ends up with:
"At public school, I wasn't motivated to do anything, but I still
passed with high grades," says Mike Greenhalgh, 16, who writes novels,
studies languages and meditates. 'It seemed like a big joke.'
To Greenberg, such freedom is key to teaching kids responsibility.
He slams standardized curriculum as "an exercise in thought control."

I believe that the Sudbury Valley Press was telling the truth when it
said on page 7 of "And Now. . .": "You can see that a lot of
concepts are involved in the idea of a responsible individual, and they
are all tied up with learning the art of being a free and independent
person. The school we had in mind had to be rooted in this idea. We
could not be satisfied with anything less than full personal
responsibility and accountability for each person, regardless of age, or
knowledge, or achievement. We knew that people would make mistakes this
way -- but they would know that the mistakes they made were their own,
and so they would be likelier to learn from them."

If I am convinced that the Sudbury Valley Schools do not teach
responsibility then I will throw my collection of Sudbury Valley
materials in the woodburning insert briefly warming my backside. I
would miss them for they have been warming my mind and heart for over a
year now. Dale