DSM: Almost Democracy

From: Alan Klein (Alan@klein.net)
Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 11:01:34 EST


I have been mulling over my years in alternative public and private schools
(before we started The Highland School, a democratic school). I have been
trying to come up with instances in which I lied to the kids about what was
going on. Other than admitting to the obvious probability of my own human
frailty, I can't really come up with anything. We laid out the system we
were in and the constraints in which we were operating and, as clearly as
possible, delineated what we were able to allow and what we weren't. We made
no bones about the fact that we were teaching in a system that allowed us to
"pull the plug" at any time, etc.

In fact, it occurs to me to wonder what the age breakdown of the SVS
Assembly is, because that's where the Bylaws live and that's from where the
power of the SM flows. I hypothesize that there are more adults in the
Assembly than students. If I am correct, just as I could have pulled the
plug on the democracy in my classroom, so could the Assembly pull the plug
on SVS's democracy. In either case, the adults have the final veto power. In
fact, leaving the Assembly aside, I daresay that almost all students at SVS
and at other democratic schools are dependent on their parents for funding.
It is the parents, then, who have the final veto power over the freedoms at
democratic schools - no parents equals no students which equals no school.

~Alan

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott David Gray" <sdg@sudval.org>
> << 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.

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