RE: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

Joseph Moore (
Tue, 14 Nov 2000 13:51:48 -0800

A parent here.

It's nice to hear how others have reshaped their lives in accord with
Sudbury principles.

I fail miserably at giving up authority over my kids. That's one of the
reasons I love the model so much - that, even if I fail, my kids get at
least 5 or so hours a day out from under my thumb (and anybody else's thumb
as well).

And it's a pain to deal with forceful, opinionated 9 and 7 year olds - we
get to do the whole teenage deal way early. So my kids are educating ME
about freedom, respect and responsibility.

I think (well, I hope, anyway) that I'm getting better - I don't boss so
much, ask for cooperation (it's amazing how willingly I get it, sometimes,
if I ask nicely), and try to be sure that choices that should be the kid's
remain the kid's. Sloppy, messy, incomplete - but it beat hell out of the

-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Roach []
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 7:06 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

Greetings Robert!

Here is the issue: a child at a democratic school has
a reasonable expectation of being respected and having
people give serious weight to his/her opinion. A six
year old has as much say in an expulsion as a forty
year old -- and each of these children take their role
in such as case as seriously as forty year old. This
kind of expectation naturally spills into other parts
of a child's life, and can complicate what had
previously been a placid relationship.

The really insidious thing about this kind of
education is that children get used to being respected
and listened to, and they really hate being patronized
and treated in an arbitrary manner -- this changes
family dyanmics in huge ways.

We warn parents in our admissions interviews about how
children may expect to be treated differently, and we
also try to provide support parents through our
TalkAbouts. One of our TalkAbout topics has been "How
to Cope with an Indendent Child."

Some families adapt to these changes better than
others. I think families with very young children at
The New School are the most affected.

So the short answer to your questions:

1) the students themselves expect and demand that
their families to be more democratic,

2) this is by no means result of a democratic vote,
but rather a natural consequence of taking the
opinions and desires of children seriously.

Best regards,

Joseph Roach

The New School
Newark, Delaware

--- Robert Swanson <> wrote:
> I admire your efforts toward a democratic family,
> but what is it in your
> school that demands parents be democratic? Was this
> by democratic vote?
> robert

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