Schools vs Freedom

Dale R. Reed (dale-reed@postoffice.worldnet.att.net)
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 07:28:08 -0800

Good morning from calm with broken clouds and a little cool Seattle,
Washington.

I assume that the reason the thread I started on censorship drifted off
into whether they break the law at democratic schools is because
"censorship" is the restricting of what we can read and see by the
state.

My mistake and as a libertarian I should of known better. I apologize
for starting a brouhaha that was obviously unproductive. I do not
advocate that any school operating under license from the state
intentionally break any laws.

What I was trying to start a discussion about is that even though the
democratic schools were possibly the best legal choice for parents and
their students who valued freedom and the development of individual
responsibly in 1968 I do not believe that is true today. Starting about
ten to fifteen years ago in the United States students legally have the
right to have far more freedom to create their own learning environments
under the homeschooling laws.

I was intending to use the example of surfing on the Internet to
wherever they wanted to go as an example. I was expecting that some
schools would come back confirming my suspicions that via the democratic
process or otherwise the children did have less freedoms(for this
example of access to information) at school than they do at home.

Then again someone might surprise me and say that the students actually
had more freedom at school. For example someone might have seen and
heard some of the students gathered around a terminal at a particularly
juicy URL saying that because of the filters installed on their
computers at home they had not seen this graphic before. Another way
the school could increase their freedom to "information" is like Puget
Sound Community School has. This school has negotiated the use of the
Speakeasy café's T1 high speed lines. That is much improved technology
over what I am sure any of the students have a home.

At least we did learn one important thing already. The students at
Sudbury Valley School cannot surf at school at all. Maybe the year of
having this modern computer hooked to the telephone line has handicapped
me but more and more often if anyone has a question about almost
anything the first place I turn to is the web. Marvelous tool for
learning.

Boy is this e-mail difficult! Hope this thread takes off in a more
productive direction this time. I am trying to think these subjects
out and I do appreciate the contributions from those of you who have
real life experiences to share. Dale