Re: DSM: Re: San Tunstall <tunstall@MIT.EDU> sent this to the list

Joe Jackson (
Sat, 28 Aug 1999 10:53:14 -0400

Hello Paolo, and I would like to welcome Mr Paul Peterson to the discussion.

Paolo, in response to your post, I believe I did address Mr Peterson's
critiques, inasmuch as they are specific and address things that are
relevent and measurable:

Peterson ha scritto:


I say that that's not specific enough to address, and perhaps not even a

Peterson ha scritto:

>"No anthropologist anywhere has found a society which would say 'The
>children shall decide what they want to do.'"

I responded that he could not possible know this, and that there's no way he
knows what all anthropologists think. In addition, he's wrong - in every
society in the world children decide what they want to do every day. Even
specifically regarding education - certainly one can't complete the doctoral
regimen at University of Chicago without learning about Summerhill and John
Holt. Also
and most significantly, it's irrelevent - if every society on earth uses
slavery, that doesn't make it the right thing to do. Would Mister Peterson
then run around and say that a group of people who reject slavery
are "alarming" and that "No anthropologist anywhere has found a society
which would say 'The slaves shall be free'."

Peterson ha scritto:

>"Everybody has expectations for their children that are rooted in the
> cultural traditions of that society."

I pretty much addressed that by saying that it's irrelevent - expectations
of parents are often the gentlest of tyrannies, but tyrannies nonetheless.
While this comment might be true, I don't see how it is an attack on the
Sudbury Model.

>"children, like everyone else, will take the path of least resistance if
> not forced to do things"

This is so 180 degrees untrue it quite honestly makes me question his
credentials. For God's sake, everyone on the planet knows that human beings
RARELY do things the easiest way. Doing things the hard way is THE MOTOR
for the evolutionary development of every living thing in the universe.

Even if I took that comment in the narrowest interpretation, regarding
children taking classes, the fact that children voluntarily do things the
hard way every day in every Sudbury Model school in the country makes me
question the motivation behind such a comment.

>These are funny answers, but I think that it would be also interesting for
>everybody to face directly Peterson's critics, and to discuss them

Like I said, the nature of his attacks do not lead to taking them seriously.
I believe that I have established that they are not, frankly, the critiques
of a person who is unburdened by agenda.

>It would be interesting to observe the SVS-schooled children compared to
>normal-schooled children. What are the main (generalizing) differences?
>flexibility? Socialization? Happiness? Self-management? Jobs? Etc...

A wealth of these kinds of observations can be found in the Sudbury Press
books, and are made with regularity on this listserve. As far as measuring
the differences in each individual, that's much more difficult (I personally
think it's impossible).

I welcome hearing the observations of everyone. As far as hearing opinions
of the generalized differences between children schooled in various systems,
I like to talk about that stuff, but I can't speak for everyone...

>And it would be also interesting looking the consequences for a society (in
>history and antropology) of more traditional and cohercitive pedagogies vs.
>autonomous, free and self-managed pedagogies.

That sort of speculation might indeed prove to be intellectually

By the way, welcome, Paolo, to the listserve! Paul, if you would like to
subscribe, all you need to do is send email (from your normal email address)

and include this phrase in the body of the message:

subscribe discuss-sudbury-model

-Joe Jackson,
Visit Fairhaven School's website at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Dec 23 1999 - 09:01:59 EST