Re: DSM: Subtle Coercion?

Bruce Smith (
Sat, 6 Jan 2001 12:14:27 -0700

> I am also bothered by the idea that we can be neutral, apolitical, and
>non-influential. I think that we DO have a curriculum which is "doing
>democracy" and our political philosophy is what allows individuals to
>choose to spend their time as they choose.

Let me clarify: I did not intend to say that Sudbury schools are wholly
apolitical, or lacking any sort of curriculum, program, or value system. I
recognize the argument that any choice, any action, can have political
overtones, and I certainly hope that Sudbury schools have an impact on the
educational and political landscape.

What I meant was, simply, that our schools should not adopt a
political/social agenda that is the least bit extraneous to our mission to
provide the maximum degree of student choice. I argue that Sudbury schools
should avoid entanglement in any "cause," whether progressive, liberal or
conservative (radical, libertarian, environmental, anarchist, monarchist,
whatever). If I'm of one or another of these persuasions, how would I react
to being at a school which officially followed the program of a group with
which I fundamentally disagree? Our primary focus should be freedom for our
students, not using the school to further any particular outside agenda.

> Overall, though I can understand the interest in maintaining "purity"
>and using Sudbury Valley Model as a catch word to represent that
>approach, I still believe that what we are about is democratic community
>and the individual rights which the community values and protects.

Understand that I use the term "purist" mostly tongue-in-cheek, having had
that label applied to me in the past for simply arguing the force of my
convictions. I don't think that obssessing on "impurity" is helpful, but I
will always uphold the importance of staying true to one's principles.


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