Re: DSM: public school prisons, and agreeing with people

Bruce Smith (
Sun, 19 Nov 2000 22:07:27 -0700

<<If we also hold that there is a goodness in what we do we have missed the
whole of Sudbury Valley.>>
<<Please let Sudbury Valley avoid such notions of goodness.>>


I must confess, I do not understand the unwillingness to find good in what
we Sudbury folks do. Of course I understand (and hold) a deep suspicion of
people who force their beliefs on others in the name of "doing good." But
to me, your statements smack of the same relativism which abhors the very
concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, simply because they're often
hard to sort out in reality.

Look, I wouldn't be involved in these schools if I didn't deeply believe
that they are doing some necessary and novel good. Sure, we have an agenda
(in your words, "deep regard and profound respect"). But can you imagine a
less imposing agenda than refusing to _impose_ any specific agenda? Are you
worried that we might force freedom, respect and responsibility on
children? What a concept.

>We teach nothing.

I disagree. I teach plenty -- I think. At least, I let students see what
kind of person I am. And there are even times when some of them ask me
questions, or to teach an actual class. Sudbury schools establish
conditions under which we believe the best and most learning may occur.
Sometimes that involves something which might be called teaching.

Or are we just arguing semantics here?

<<The regular schools are not idiots because they teach algebra, they are
idiots because they believe in the goodness of doing so. >>

They're idiots because their lack of faith leads them to believe that no
one would learn anything useful in life unless they're forced to do so, in
highly structured ways, as children.


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