Re: DSM: why democracy

Scott Gray (
Tue, 27 Mar 2001 13:49:43 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 27 Mar 2001, John Axtell wrote:

> Sorry Ben I should have been clearer. I am referring to the political process
> not the geographic definition you commented on though it did give me food for
> thought.
> My question specifically addresses the political foundation upon which the SV
> model seems to be based, democracy as compared to a republic form of government
> which, in general, is practiced here in the United States.
> I am specifically interested to learn why a democratic method of running a
> "free" school is superior to a republic method.

  In groups of less than 500 people representative democracy, and division
into separate districts as common in republican government, is impractical
and, frankly, just plain silly. No organization with less than 500
members operates this way, unless it is _designed_ that way in _order_ to
emulate the republican model (usually for pedagogical purposes).

  I do think that, for the young person who has already spent some time in
traditional school, the direct democracy of the School Meeting is a very
welcome wake-up call. The fact that one sits amoungst other persons, of
all ages, and each has exactly the same rights and voice in the _meeting_,
has a _direct_ impact on a student's sense of his/her own rights in the
  If a school were governed as a representative democracy, in which each
student or staff member were equally able to _run_ for office, I'd be
afraid that the "equality before the law" would seem a little bit too
theoretical... Not many traditional school students would be put at ease
by such theoretical equality before the law, and I would fear that several
(older students especially) would have difficulty trusting that they
really do have equal rights.

> Two different political systems.
> John
--Scott David Gray
reply to:
If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can
sure make something out of you.

-- Muhammad Ali

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