Re: DSM: It's the $$$, stupid.

Bruce Smith (
Sun, 19 Nov 2000 21:48:11 -0700

Now, this may seem odd to some of you, given my post defending Dawn's
outspokenness. But it shouldn't, for I _was_, after all, trying to draw a
distinction between criticizing someone's argument and criticizing the

<<And in my opinion all traditional school employees ought to 'fess up to
what this teacher blithely admits: You engage in the involuntary
incarceration of children for your own personal profit...As for being a
Sudbury School model staff member, I can't imagine worse role models for
children than adults who have made careers "watching colleagues control
little children K, 1, 2, by shaming them into submission." Shame on anyone
who stomachs that to collect a paycheck.>>

I'd like to raise the example of two colleagues here at Alpine Valley, one
of whom taught in the "government schools," as he puts it, for three years
_after_ the opening of AVS; and his wife, the other colleague in question,
who's now taken his place in that system so that he can devote more time to
Alpine Valley. This during a time when our school cannot pay living wages,
and would not exist without these two. Have we, or they, sold our souls to
the public-school devil in order to enable AVS to survive? Are they, prima
facie, poor role models?

I also think of my closest colleague from my own days of incarcerating
children, a woman whom I still regard fondly, but who stubbornly refuses to
get out of a system whose faults she sees. I cannot justify her staying
there, and it pisses me off and saddens me; but while it may impair our
friendship, I just can't find it in me to despise her.

I certainly share Dawn's loathing of traditional schools, and the
functionaries who abuse those children under the guise of helping them
grow. Part of me agrees _profoundly_ with Dawn; but I see her argument in
this area as too simplistic. How can I demonize _everyone_ who has *any*
connection to that system? What I feel for those who remain in traditional
schools (anger, sadness, hatred, in varying amounts applied to various
people) is too complex to give it only one label. So I try to reserve my
disgust for those who refuse to admit that, despite their good intentions,
they are helping perpetuate an evil.

I'm not bothered by Dawn's words or her tone. But it's harder for me to
share the force of her argument in the context of these friends of mine.
And besides, to echo Joe, I'm too damn busy building my own school to get
too mired in debunking someone else's.

And if you see this as inconsistency on my part, it only looks that way
because of all the complex and awful
shades of gray.


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