DSM: Ambition and Humility

Joseph Moore (joseph@ivorycc.com)
Fri, 17 Nov 2000 12:42:46 -0800

In light of the fascinating discussion of the last couple weeks:

We have this great ambition: to change the way children are educated (or, in
our terms, educate themselves). Unavoidably, this puts us in conflict with a
majority of people we come across, who are invested, one way or another, in
the current way of doing things. So, many of us (all of us?) get at least a
little evangelical when talking about the model - we all have our facts and
stories and feelings lined up to argue our case.

It's not a theoretical argument, at least not any more - people can compare
how a Sudbury schools works to how a traditional school works. But there are
theoretical (or philosophical) considerations: It is essential to the model
that we have faith that kids will, if left free to do it, learn whatever
they feel is necessary. Further, we believe that an environment of free
choice helps kids become self-reliant, independent and strong - and, most of
all, happy. Conversely, if you think it's the school's job to see to it that
kids turn out some particular way, you will end up infringing on the kids'
innate freedom - and, if you lose that lesson, you've lost a major point of
the model.

While on the one hand we want to change the world, on the other, we don't
presume to tell the kids how (or even if) they should go about changing it.
That's their call - as founders and parents, we want to give them a chance -
then humbly step aside so that they can take it.

So, in this sense, we oppose any plans that start out with a pre-determined
view of how kids should turn out when properly educated, whether that view
is of good little consumers and workers (factory schools) or some sort of
metaphysically enlightened bodhisattvas, or any place between. Good
intentions can not be allowed to overrule people's innate right to freedom
just because those people happen to be kids. Possibly the worst schools are
those whose keepers are most convinced of the purity of their goals for the

Joseph Moore
DVS Founder

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sat Nov 18 2000 - 01:55:51 EST