RE: DSM: RE: why democracy

Alan or Laura Gabelsberg (
Mon, 26 Mar 2001 13:59:17 -0600

A republican community might be good too.


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of John
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 1:31 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: RE: why democracy


May I ask why you feel that democracy is a good way to build good
learning communities rather than a republican form of decision making ?

John Axtell

Alan or Laura Gabelsberg wrote:

> What a nicely stated explanation of what Iíve been trying to
> understand/process.Thank you Rebecca! I believe kids need a community
> to learn in that offers more than parents alone can offer.Democracy
> just makes sense given our society.Thanks to all who helped clarify
> TCS philosophy (Mike and other who contributed to the discussion) ? I
> am new to all of this.(And a little embarrassed that I apparently know
> a lot less than I thought)Still ? I must admit - reading Why Children
> Fail by John Holt, which was suggested reading on the TCS web site has
> been very interesting to me, and helped solidify WHY we must release
> some of our control of what/how children learn. Coercion just doesnít
> make sense given how children learn. But we (society) need the
> community ? children need the community.A good way to build that
> community for them is what Sudbury is doing.There may be other valid
> ways to build good learning communities too.But democracy is a really
> good way IMO.
> Laura
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of highland
> Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 9:26 AM
> To:
> Cc: Rebecca Roth
> Subject: DSM: why democracy
> I've been following Marko's, and now Ben's, threads on coercion,
> consensus, Taking Children Seriously, and Sudbury Model Schools.
> Several points occur to me all relating to why we need to practice -
> and understand WHY we practice - democratic process in these schools.
> Democracy is more than a convenient form of government - it is ALL of
> our daily living together. It is what allows and supports individual
> choice and a non-coercive environment.
> The assumptions underlying democratic living are critical and
> cannot be violated without harming both the community and the
> individuals who make it up. Each individual is unique and
> intrinsically valuable -hence we safeguard individual rights. The
> process of doing democracy means protecting diversity of ideas (even
> undemocratic ones), respecting each person's right to contribute to
> the conversation and take from it what he or she chooses, creating an
> environment that supports each individual's rights to "life, liberty
> and the pursuit of happiness." Decision making by one person one vote
> and majority rules is just a part of what doing democracy is
> about. The ability to change and grow based on experience is
> another vital part of democratic life. If through experiencing the
> consequences of our choices we discover something better, we can
> decide to change. By protecting the rights of the minority on any
> issue we have dissenting voices helping us reflect on what we've
> done. The bottom line is that democratic living is the only way to
> ensure individual freedom and benefit as a community from each of our
> member's experiences.
> If all we are about is protecting children's rights to pursue
> their interests, then it may not matter whether we have a benevolent
> dictatorship, a consensus model, or the anarchy inherent in the TCS
> approach. If what we are about is creating a free community and
> supporting the choices of unique individuals, then it does matter. As
> a parent, I know that some of the most pervasive, coercive influences
> I exerted on my children were completely unintentional on my part.
> What has helped both me and them has been the presence of other free,
> reflective people who were willing to point out my "blind spots" and
> support us in dealing with them. Perhaps, if we were all the products
> of perfect parenting in utopian societies, we wouldn't need democratic
> interactions to grow. I still think we would choose democratic living
> as the best way to enhance (and enjoy) our growth. Candy Landvoigt

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