DSM: BOUNCE: Is democracy for everyone om>

Scott Gray (sdg@sudval.org)
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 16:52:04 -0400 (EDT)

Jan Freed posted this, from an email address that isn't subscribed to the
list. Here's Jan's post, in it's entirety.

From: "Jan Freed" <jan_freed@excite.com>
To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org

If "independence is needed" for a successful SVS experience, that leads me
to my question:

What happens when a young person, who has been in public schools prior to
SVS, enters SVS as, say, as a 16 year old -- is the temptation to "lounge
around" (I call this the "free a last" reaction) too strong to overcome the
natural desire to learn what is interesting to a person. How often do you
encounter this reaction (I am asking SVS staff), and do you take any special
"steps" in this case.

Also, isn't the granting or witholding of a High School credential (based on
their accomplishment) just another kind of "carrot and stick" that creates
the motivation to learn, rather than the intrinsic motivation that SVS
believes in.

I hope this is the correct venue for my questions. Thanks.

On Fri, 06 Aug 1999 13:21:09 -0400, Matthew Alexander Wolf wrote:

> I am a recent graduate of Sudbury Valley School. This is my first post to
> list. I took select peices of your post, and replied to them specifically.
> opinions expressed in here are mine, not that of SVS or anyone else.
> My understanding is that the Sudbury model strives to be an example of a
> community in action.
> Sudbury Model schools are not democratic for the purposes of modeling
> after a democratic state, we are democratic because democracy is the best
way to
> ensure freedom.
> > The only thing that bothers me is how I have heard some advocates of
> > model justify certain exclusionary practices.
> Obviously, there is a certain level of independence needed to
> become part of a community that is based on personal responsibilty and
> While it is unfortunate, Sudbury Model schools cannot accomodate all
people who
> would like to attend. Some people simply are not mentally capable of
functioning on
> their own. If a Sudbury Model School were to begin practicing supervision
> certain members of the school, due to disabilities, then the rights of
> supervised students would be secondary, which would be contrary to the
> of the Sudbury Model.
> In cases where handicapped students wouldn't need supervision, and
would just
> need certain physical conditions of the school to be certain ways (i.e.
ramps for
> someone with a wheelchair), sometimes it is simply impossible for the
Sudbury Model
> school to pay for the alterations necessary. Despite the fact that SVS,
> presumably schools like it (although I've never been), are truly wonderful
> they do not have special abilities to pay for things they cannot afford.
> unfortunately, people sometimes have to be excluded, and justifiably so.
> > I would not have a
> > problem if these people were striving toward fair inclusion
> They are - fair for the community of the school.
> If the tenants of this community model justify exclusion based on special
> that involve not being able to be fully self-directed, I question the
humanity of
> the tenants.
> How is that inhumane? It simply puts freedom as a priority over
accomodating EVERY
> applicant. At a Sudbury Model School, freedom is so essential, to
sacrifice it,
> even if for full inclusion, would contradict the idea behind the Sudbury
Model. Is
> it inhumane that Harvard University doesn't allow mentally retarded people
to go to
> their law school? Is it inhumane that someone, who doesn't know how to
program on
> computers, wouldn't be hired by a software development company, as a
> No. I contend that it is just a fact of life that some things aren't for
> I contend that this aspect of reality, unfortunately, has to apply to
Sudbury Model
> schools as well.
> Matthew A. Wolf
> mwolf@sudval.org
> www.cyberonic.net/~mwolf

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