Re[2]: DSM: why democracy


David Rovner (rovners@netvision.net.il)
Wed, 28 Mar 2001 13:34:33 +0200


John wrote:

>David,
>So if I understand your conclusion a free school following the SV model would do just
as
>well being run using a republican governing process as a democratic governing
process.
>Is this the correct understanding of your position?
>John

John,
You ask me questions, but you don't answer mine . . .

As to your question, No, it is not the correct understanding
of my position?

I wouldn't want that a free school following the SV
model would run using a republican governing process.

I "see" Sudbury Valley School through its writings.

The thinking of SVS founders, as reflected in their
writings, was focused on a participatory democracy
(parliamentary democracy) dedicated to allowing
children their full rights, which are daily denied
them in almost all other schools.

A republican governing process (a presidential democracy) --
as a form of government -- is less a participatory democracy.
Do you think it would be proper to have a president, with the
powers he is invested with, in a "democratic" school, or even
in a regular school?
As I see it the Republican model is closer to an
autocracy/dictatorship.

Democracy is an utopia -- show me a country that is a pure
democracy. Still SVS gets closer to that ideal.

Why democracy?

Because it makes good sense for a school to be run
democratically in a country where all forms of government
are democratic and the same in a country that wants to improve
and strengthen its democracy,

As far as I am concerned, a democratic government is the best
way people have ever come up with to manage their affairs.

What I'm saying is that we can not compare
a term used to name the form of government of a nation
-- that is related, among other things, with the economy
of the nation -- with the form of government of a school
-- they are at different levels, they should be looked at with
a different focus.

But, "we have to be careful with words. It's a miracle
they ever mean the same thing to any two people.
Often they don't. Words like 'love,' 'peace,' 'trust,'
'democracy' -- everyone brings to these words a
lifetime of experience, a world view, and we know
how rarely we have these in common with anyone
else."

Take the word "democracy".

When you wrote democratic I suppose you meant a
parliamentary form of government, against a presidential
form of government -- a republic.

I think when starting a discussion "we should begin by
doing a very unpopular thing that does not fit today's
intellectual fashions and it is, therefore, 'anti-consensus':
we should begin by defining our terms, so that we will
know what we are talking about" -- this is not an
easy task.

Incidentally, I don't know any school run as a republic.
Do you? On the other side I know of a lot of schools that
are run as "dictatorships" . . .

I think starting a democratic school is like rearing a child:
At the beginning when he is a toddler you decide for him.
Then as he grows up, he gradually decides for himself. So
I think that at the beginning the school won't be so democratic
as we would expect it to be.

Still, I believe changing many of our schools into SVM
schools would bring us to a better society -- as compared
with todays majority of traditional or state schools.

David

*************************************************
The schools era will come to an end with the beginning
of the democratic era.

School as an Obstacle to Democracy
Gunter Nenning
*************************************************

---------- Original Message ----------

>From: John Axtell <newlife@theofficenet.com>
>To: discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org
>Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 08:21:25 -0800
>Subject: Re: DSM: why democracy

>David,

>So if I understand your conclusion a free school following the SV model would do just
as
>well being run using a republican governing process as a democratic governing
process.
>Is this the correct understanding of your position?

>John

>David Rovner wrote:

>> Just some thoughts on the subject: "why do you feel democracy is a better way
>> to run a school than a republican form of government ?"
>> (John Axtell newlife@theofficenet.com Mon, 26 Mar 2001 11:31:06 -0800)
>>
>> As Einstein said (I think he did): "everything is relative";
>> for instance: Mexico is a Republic -- would you say it is a Democracy?
>>
>> As Daniel Greenberg wrote:
>> "'Democracy' seems to mean many things to many people. To the regimes
>> of Eastern Europe it designates (designated, actually.- d.r.) an autocratic
one-party
>> rule conducted for the presumed benefit of the masses . . ."
>>
>> Is U.S.A. a Democracy?
>>
>> Ayn Rand claimed that a Welfare State is not a Democratic Nation -- it does not
>> protect
>> the Rights of Individuals.
>>
>> Regime in a nation -- I agree with Ayn Rand -- is intimately related with economy
>> in that nation.
>>
>> You don't have a Democracy if you have a Welfare State -- a Mixed Economy:
>> a mixture in varying degrees of freedom and controls, of voluntary choice and
>> government coercion, of capitalism and statism.
>>
>> Regime in school is not intimately related with economy.
>>
>> It is not right to compare regime in a nation with regime at school.
>>
>> So you can't say: democracy is a better way -- or a worse way --
>> to run a school than a republican form of government.
>>
>> School and nation must be seen in a different scale. They must be seen --
>> in this sense -- as different, as social organizations.
>>
>> David
>>
>> .

>>>From: John Axtell <newlife@theofficenet.com>
>>>To: discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org
>>>Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 11:31:06 -0800
>>>Subject: Re: DSM: why democracy

>>>I ask everyone on this list, why do you feel democracy is a better way
>>>to run a school than a republican form of governement ?

>>>I appreciate the time you folks have taken to educate me.

>>>John Axtell



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