Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

From: william van horn (wmvh1@excite.com)
Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 00:33:53 EST


Still curious here. And pardon my naive questions. If I ask what some
consider stupid questions its just because Sudbury is such a great model and
I try to look at it from all directions.

My snide comment about the worht of the individual's vote stems from my
feeling that the actual decisions of our governent are made more because of
the influence of money from special intersts groups. How many times have I
voted for the lesser of two "evils"? I often feel like my vote doesn't count
despite the rhetoric of the political system. Maybe that is the same way a
student counselor member feels in public schools.

I'm curious on how Sudbury graduates deal with the change of expectations
and restrictions once they go into the work world or onto college. It seems
that it would be difficult, much like a child used to loving supportive
parents being dropped into a violent public school system. Is this a matter
of discussion with the students as they approach leaving Sudbury? (In NO way
am I saying that children should be exposed to repressive schooling to
prepare then for the "real" world.)

William

On Fri, 2 Nov 2001 23:08:02 -0500 (EST), discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
wrote:

> There are more than 200 members of the
> discuss-sudbury-model list. And there are more than 200
> different philosophies of human development, dignity, and
> education represented on this list.
> Some people on this list feel that the core of a good
> school is that the concept of curriculum is abandoned.
> Some people on this list feel that the core of a good
> community is equality of voice and equality before the law
> between students and adults in the community.
> A subset of those people (myself included) also believe
> that their vision of a good school is more endangered by
> people who _misunderstand_ what they are about, than it is
> endangered by people who feel a little ticked off because
> some people suggested that it might be counter-productive to
> compromise those principles.
>
> In point of fact I _personally_ believe in my heart of
> hearts that putting a democratic face on something that is
> not democratic only adds a lie to the list of other sins.
> I don't think that it encourages people to think
> democratically -- I think that it encourages them to think
> cynically and/or to think of freedom as nothing but a word.
> I look back at my own days in public school... And I
> think to myself that had the teachers _admitted_ that it was
> an unfair and unequal relationship, it would have been
> slightly less horrible.
>
> A military school does exactly what it claims -- it
> attempts to dissemble each student and to reassemble him/her
> in a pre-determined way. A sudbury school does exactly what
> it claims -- it keeps hands off the person and lets her/him
> be. However, a progressive school is dishonest by its very
> nature -- it uses the language of freedom in order to
> further an underlying curriculum. I think that children are
> hurt even more by lies, than they are by having to live
> unfree to a military standard.
> In other words... I feel that a "progressive" school
> which uses the language of democracy is in many ways
> _further_ from my vision of a good school than a military
> school is. Many people react defensively when a person on
> this list criticizes progressive schooling; yet, I have
> never seen a person here object to strong words being spoken
> by some list members against overtly authoritarian school
> environments. This is an unfair bias -- we are glad to hold
> military schools up to the light and examine them, but some
> people get nervous when a progressive school is similarly
> treated.
>
> My position on this debate is a matter of opinion of
> course -- I can't "prove" that being systematically lied to
> is worse than being forced to make my bed, any more than a
> person on the other side can "prove" that getting used to
> the language and forms of democracy is more valuable than
> honesty. This is an aesthetic judgment, about the kind of
> life one wants to live, and the way that one wants to see
> others treated.
>
> So, yes... Given _some_ philosophical priorities, it
> may be "counter-productive" to hear people arguing
> forcefully against compromise schools. However, from the
> vantage point of some philosophical priorities, it would be
> counter-productive to coddle persons expecting acceptance or
> approval for offering the trappings of democracy in a place
> where there is no democracy.
> I would also remind people that D-S-M is _not_ an
> advocacy list. The purpose of this list is _not_ to
> convince others of the Sudbury Model. The purpose is to
> freely and openly discuss the Sudbury Model. This means
> that comments from its critics are welcome (though it is
> true that few critics subscribe). And it means that list
> members are free to actually put forward their positions on
> other forms of schooling -- whatever they are -- provided
> that they refrain from making personal attacks.
>
> I would like to reach an understanding with those on
> this list who feel that every school which uses the language
> of freedom should hold its arms open to every other school
> that uses the language of freedom:
> People on one side of this issue will keep putting
> forward their opinions. Those on the other side of this
> particular philosophical divide will keep putting forward
> theirs. These competing positions will continue to be put
> forward (after several years it is clear that this
> particular debate will never go away). Newcomers to this
> list will continue to hear these competing ideas exposed to
> full and fair debate, and can decide for themselves where
> they stand. Fair?
>
> --
>
> --Scott David Gray
> reply to: sgray@sudval.org
> http://www.unseelie.org/
> ============================================================
> ... Another writer again agreed with all my generalities,
> but said that as an inveterate skeptic I have closed my
> mind to the truth. Most notably I have ignored the
> evidence for an Earth that is six thousand years old.
> Well, I haven't ignored it; I considered the purported
> evidence and *then* rejected it. There is a difference,
> and this is a difference, we might say, between prejudice
> and postjudice. Prejudice is making a judgment before you
> have looked at the facts. Postjudice is making a judgment
> afterwards. Prejudice is terrible, in the sense that you
> commit injustices and you make serious mistakes. Postjudice
> is not terrible. You can't be perfect of course; you may
> make mistakes also. But it is permissible to make a
> judgment after you have examined the evidence. In some
> circles it is even encouraged.
>
> -- Carl Sagan
> ============================================================
>
>
>
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William M. Van Horn
wmvh1@excite.com
http://www.angelfire.com/art/inmystudio

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