RE: DSM:

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 10:32:21 EDT


Hello William, I hope you had a good summer!

I would hope we would all agree on the silliness of the underlying point
behind your questioner's "notion", which would seem to be that
democratic schools don't produce famous people. My reactions are,
respectively, What?, Huh? and Who Cares?

First point: In today's world, there exist no standard of what "someone
who has helped create a broad cultural change in understanding or the
way we see things in art, writing, science, politics, etc." even means,
or who would fit it. The concept is nonsense.

Almost 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a then very
Sudbury-ish Arts Magnet High School with Roy Hargrove, one of the
greatest and well-known jazz musicians of our time. Fifty years ago he
would have probably fallen under most people's definitions of someone
who has "created a broad change" regarding art in America. But in
today's world nobody will ever agree on what "art" is; most people today
don't even listen to jazz or know who Roy Hargrove is.

There were 250 jazz artists in 1950 who were great enough to shape the
world's view of art. Today there are 2500, but the world doesn't really
listen to jazz. So is the questioner saying that it's more important
for schools to crank out Michael Jacksons (who has had *way* more effect
in changing the world's perception of music than anyone else in the
world over the last 20 years) than it is for them to crank out
Hargroves?

And did anyone catch themselves just now bridling at the idea that
Michael Jackson created a "broad cultural change in understanding or the
way we see things in art"? You see the problem.

Fame is opportunity. The relationship of fame to greatness is usually a
matter of opinion, and when it is not are occurrences that are so
statistically rare as to preclude a relationship with the type or form
of schooling.

Just for fun, someone name me five people in the world today who are
changing our culture in the same breadth and degree of unequivocality
that Julius Ceasar, Johann Sebastian Bach and Albert Einstein did in
their respective cultures.

Second point: There's a math problem here. Over the past 50 years
Sudbury schools have produced maybe 6-8 hundred students. Over the past
fifty years all the other kinds of schools in the world have produced
billions of students. So, at this rate, if the all these other schools
in the world have (arguably) produced one or two thousand of these
people that can change our culture today (if there are that many we can
all agree on), then

2,000/2,000,000,000 = x/800 per fifty years
.000001 = x/800 per fifty years
x = .0008 per fifty years

So Sudbury schools only need to produce one U.N Delegate or Pulitzer
Prize winner every 600 centuries to easily surpass all other schools in
this all-important category? What a cakewalk!

Third point: While the criteria of "someone who has helped create a
broad cultural change in understanding or the way we see things in art,
writing, science, politics, etc." is nonexistent due to its
equivocality, what is the relevance?

Does the world need Nobel Prize winners more than it needs
veterinarians? Is someone who is a great writer a better and more
present parent than a reporter for the local paper? Because it's the
billions of anonymous people who live their lives with joy & integrity
that make real contributions to our culture.

Back to the jazz music analogy. In order to follow the track of a jazz
musician who is at all "known", one essentially has to dedicate their
entire lives to becoming known. Is it possible to be a good parent and
be involved with social issues and volunteer for charities when you're
out on the road ten months a year? No, I tried it, it's not possible.

The relationship of fame to how good a person is is nonexistent.

And much thanks should go to public schools for the fact that the impact
art has on our culture today is negligible compared to sports. The
impact of writing on our culture is far less than that of television and
movies. So your questioner's categories seem a little out of date with
regard to the real-life culture of today, unless "culture" to them means
a bunch of college professors and art & music critics sitting around in
a coffee shop in Geneva sipping cappuccinos while discussing Thomas
Pynchon's latest book.

Sorry. To me the point, which amounts to "has Sudbury/Summerhill
cranked out anyone famous?", is so juvenile I am incapable of even
comprehending whatever legitimacy the questioner intends.

I would tell the questioner that while democratic schooling doesn't
necessarily help kids to become famous, that every single graduate of
Sudbury goes on to make *untold* contributions to our civilization, and
that getting famous is probably not among the top ten reasons parents
send their children to a Sudbury school.

Rant over.

-Joe

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
[mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org] On Behalf Of william van
horn
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 6:41 AM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
Subject: Re: DSM:

I was in a discussion on the state of the school system here in the US
and someone brought up the notion that no one that has made a
significant contribution to our culture has ever come through democratic
schools such as Summerhill or Sudbury. By significant contribution he
meant someone who has helped create a broad cultural change in
understanding or the way we see things in art, writing, science,
politics, etc.

Does anyone know of a SUdbury alumnus who has gone on to help make such
a change?

William M. Van Horn
http://www.angelfire.com/art/inmystudio

_______________________________________________________
Send a cool gift with your E-Card
http://www.bluemountain.com/giftcenter/

===========

If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please send an email
TO majordomo@sudval.org with the following phrase in the BODY (not the
subject) of the message:

unsubscribe discuss-sudbury-model [the-subscribed-email]

If you are interested in the subject, but the volume of mail sent is too
much, you may wish to consider unsubscribing from this list and
subscribing to "dsm-digest"

This mailing list is archived at http://www.sudval.org/~sdg/archives

===========

If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please send an email TO
majordomo@sudval.org with the following phrase in the BODY (not the
subject) of the message:

unsubscribe discuss-sudbury-model [the-subscribed-email]

If you are interested in the subject, but the volume of mail sent is too much,
you may wish to consider unsubscribing from this list and subscribing to
"dsm-digest"

This mailing list is archived at http://www.sudval.org/~sdg/archives



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Mon Nov 05 2001 - 20:24:29 EST