Re: DSM: data improves school

Rayner Garner (
Fri, 03 Nov 2000 14:15:26 -0800

John Axtell wrote:
> As one who is reading the discussions in this list with a great deal of interest
> as I am doing research as to what paradigms might best meet the objectives of
> students, parents and the society I personally interact with, I value all the
> research all of you are doing.

I was at a talk given by A.S Neill of Summerhill School, oh, so many
years ago. This was in Britain. There was no question that Neill had
helped to transfom the elementary education in Britain. Of course most
of this came to naught when students went on to secondary education.
Apart from a very few outstanding schools most secondary education
reverted to sweat and swot and the dulling down of generations of
British children.

I well remember Neill's impassioned words to his rapt audience of
elementary and secondary school teachers, plus administrators. "You keep
saying, your right Neill, your right, but you don't do dammed all about

Neill told me that he believed that Wilhelm Reich was correct. That we
need to search the underlying reasons behind why evidence, innovation
and better, more humanitarian advances are usually ignored and
denigrated to the detriment of our children. That unless we research and
test the theories that Reich and others have put forward we are unlikely
to transform our society into a truly effective and humanitarian one.

Over the last fifty years I have been observing that innovators continue
to rediscover, test and attempt to implement ideas that are
demonstrably superior than those in present use only to find them
rejected. This phenomona is not of course confined to education.

My research in the last twenty years has been focused on why innovation
is often blocked. Using Reich and James Prescott's work as an
inspiration. I suspect that my research may not be appropriate for this
list but I felt compelled to comment.

>From homeschooling my two daughters and virtually "teaching" them by
benign neglect, I saw how their innate ability and curiosity led them to
acquire vast amounts of information that had meaning and value to them.
When my eldest daughter, from curiosity mainly, entered a local public
high school at fourteen, she amazed us all by "catching up" on the
academic studies in a matter of weeks. I just wish I had known of the
Sudbury model then. Peer pressure to conform has been a problem for both
my daughters. They would have relished the type of environment that has
been discussed on this list.

I am appreciating the most interesting discussions on this list. They
are very informative. Best wishes,
Rayner Garner

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Mon Nov 06 2000 - 09:05:36 EST