Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

From: Dawn F. Harkness (dawn@harkness.net)
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 22:44:31 EST


Alan it is true that this topic and tone periodically recur. I think there
are good reasons for this. I think some people forget that this is a
discussion group which is supposed to be focused on discussing the Sudbury
model. Way too many people seem to think this is a support group for
disillusioned teachers and wacky alternative educators who want to beat
their chests or crow about their "successes". Well, they do so at their
peril on a board which is bound to have some highly opinionated and
passionate advocates for the Sudbury model. It's kind of like some
fundamentalist preacher participating in a discussion group which is
dedicated to discussing the civil rights of lesbian and gay folks. When he
starts spouting absurd rhetoric of loving the sinner but hating the sin,
advocates for lesbian and gay civil rights get very upset, and no one should
be surprised if they post a passionate even hostile response. I know the
analogy is not perfect, but the point is that at least one of the reasons
Sudbury schools were started (and why some of us enroll our children in
Sudbury schools) is because traditional schools are horrible repressive
institutions beyond reform. And I for one think that those who profit from
them are among the

I'll never understand why so many of the traditional school types fail to do
their homework before making absurd claims about "sort of doing democracy"
in their classrooms on a list-serv which is dedicated to the Sudbury Model.
Had they done any background reading either in the archives or in the
published literature out there they would know that there are those of us
who feel very strongly on this issue and who will take exception to their
bogus claims. It is important to note that it's not everybody who asks a
naive question or who is searching for information who provoke a less than
diplomatic response from some writers. In fact, the folks who tend to get
my goat are those writers who a) claim to understand the model b) profess
regret over their role in traditional schools, and then c) claim that they
can sort of do democracy in their classroom anyway as if that minimizes
their complicity in a repressive system. I have little patience for these
hypocrites. Look back over the archives and I think you'll find that it's
not the honest searchers out there who hit a nerve with folks like me. It's
the hypocrites.

I leave PR to those folks who have skills in that department. The vast
majority of writers on this list are more diplomatic types who have the
patience of a saint when answering questions like, "Why haven't Sudbury
schools produced any Nobel prize winners" or some other such nonsense.
(Actually, I would put Joe at the top of the patience list, even though he
can let it fly with the best of us from time to time.) Alan, take whatever
approach that works for you by all means. But, I'm sticking to what best
expresses my opinions when these issues surface.

Dawn Harkness
SVS Parent, not PR girl.

----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Klein <Alan@klein.net>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

> Hi all,
>
> This whole discussion is one we have recycled over and over. I am struck
by
> a theme, or perhaps a tone, that seems to recur. Whenever people talk
about
> their experiences of "sort of doing democracy" in public or private
schools,
> we fall all over ourselves to come down on them. We go to great pains to
> tell them about the evil they are foisting upon their unsuspecting
students.
> (Hyperbole, for sure, but I think I am accurately noting the gist of what
> goes on here.) I wonder why this is so.
>
> Back in teh early days of The Highland School (early 1980's), we used to
> have this discussion a lot. Is The Harmony School in Indiana sufficiently
> democratic to be considered a friend or are they the devil incarnate
because
> they talk freedom but don't practice it to the level we believe necessary?
> Why did kids in Chris Mercogliano's class at The Free School in Albany
> (mentioned in a SKOLE article he wrote) have a math class they had to
rebel
> against rather than being free to choose their own activities? Did this
mean
> that The Albany Free School is a sham...a mere pretender to be cast away
and
> scorned by us true believers?
>
> I have come to believe that this level of heat in this discussion is a
> problem for us as a community of people working for democracy in
education.
> Simply put, I think it is counter-productive, in that we drive off more
> people than we attract. And in this business we need all teh friends we
can
> get.
>
> Scott David, Mimsy, Dawn, and Joe ...don't reach for your keyboard yet! I
am
> NOT suggesting that we water down our philosohies to attract more people.
I
> am not suggesting that we tell half truths to prospective parents to lure
> thm into the fold. I am not suggesting that we bestow the "SVS" brand or
the
> democratic school label on any school or classroom that decides to claim
it.
> I am not suggestign that we stop vigorously discussing and debating our
> philosophical and pragmatic practices.
>
> What I AM suggesting is that we tone down the rhetoric that states or
> implies that people do harm to kids when they do their best to apply
> whatever they can of democratic methodology to their classrooms in
> non-democratic schools. Certainly we all may wish that they would abandon
> those efforts and join us in our democratic schools. The question then is,
> "What is the best way to get them to do so?" My experience tells me that
> taking an appreciative look at our own experiences and sharing them with
> others is the best way. Telling them that they are going to Educational
Hell
> for not quitting their jobs in order to start a democratic school is not.
>
> Thanks for listening. You may now fire away!
> ~Alan Klein
>
>
>
>
> ===========
>
> 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