Re: DSM: degrees of illusionary freedom

From: Alan Klein (
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 08:20:24 EST

Ultimately, the monetary power is held by the parents, as they can decide
not to pay the tuition.

As to governmental power, I was referring to governmental entities outside
of the school, but which can have some say (or a lot of say) over the
school. As students cannot vote, adults hold that power ultimately, as well.

Within our schools, at least in the SVS model itself, the Assembly holds the
power over the bylaws. As I believe that, if they all came out, adults make
up a majority of such bodies, they hold the ultimate veto power over the
fate of the school.

I have never said, and do not believe, "that there are operational factors
in the operation of Sudbury Schools from which students are excluded".
However, even within our schools adults may hold particular authority that
is denied to students. For example, at SVS (at least when I visited a couple
of times) adults kept the phone with them at all times.

My main point is simpler than all this, actually. It is that all schools,
and all classrooms within schools, exist within a system which impinges
those schools and classrooms in various ways. Some of these schools and
classrooms are pretty close to what we would idealize as democratic
education. Most are pretty close to what we would demonize as totalitarian
education. A few are in the middle somewhere. I would like us, as a
democratic school movement which hopes to gain larger acceptance, to simply
be mindful of the old adage that "you catch more flies with honey than with

~Alan Klein

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Jackson" <>
> I do not understand. At Fairhaven, the monetary and governmental power
> lies with the students, staff and parents. What do you mean? Our FSI
> membership, which consists of the assembly, amends bylaws and votes to
> spend money building, etc. Assembly directly spends it's money, as does
> school meeting. School meeting decides governance, and legislates.
> Can someone explain where these ideas that there are operational factors
> in the operation of Sudbury Schools from which students are excluded?
> Because that certainly is not the case at Fairhaven. How is it that an
> adult has veto power at a Sudbury School, and what gave someone that
> impression?


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