DSM: students rights

From: Mark Stafford & Angela Sevin (markangela@mail.com)
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 12:51:32 EST


Travis and list,

Though I am not currently involved with a Sudbury Valley School, I carried away
from my experience of 2 plus years the passion and understanding that
students'/children's rights is the next issue to face in the growing equality
movement. I'm very interested in looking at the roots of this oppression and how
an evolving democratic structure will help and/or hinder the efforts of education
reform.

I have been appreciating your insights.

Angela Sevin

BBWIA13@aol.com wrote:

> List members,
>
> Not to get ahead of myself, but I want to know if anyone would be
> interested in discussing core educational and philosophical issues that are,
> essentially, responsible for making Sudbury Valley (all Sudbury school's)
> what they are today, and for defining their uniqueness.
> These issues have come into focus for me recently. The founding
> philosophies are not so simple as they are often made out to be. The
> complexities, and digressive implications, are mind-numbing. Many proponents
> of the school (save select founders, staff, and students) fail to delve past
> the outskirts when arguing for it. An example if I may.
> Everyone has had some experience with relatives or with others who
> dislike and essentially argue against the school. In turn, everyone has put
> up defensive arguments, explaining what they think the school means, and why
> it is justified. Observe these conversations (without a doubt, many of you
> already have) and you will find that often, the student (or other person) in
> question will merely repeat sentences he has read in school literature, or
> perhaps criticize and insult the Public School systems inherent philosophies
> in response, resulting in a total unproductive conversation.
> And so, I wish to start discussing the absolute core. I have concluded
> that the first thing that comes into focus (everything is in a pattern when
> discussing the absolute core) is students rights.
> When a select group of founders pool their minds and find that on the
> issue of students rights there is searing, white agreement, only then can the
> democratic government and lack of academic curricula result. Specifically
> because they are the only systems that can comply with the students rights
> theories!
> Simply, if founders and school by-laws postulate that children, in
> general, have inherent rights that should not be violated, rights that are
> violated in Public School every day, then, for example, could you construct a
> non-democratic government? Of course not. Obviously, it would be in
> contradiction.
> The most crucial thing to understand is that all the jazz about validity
> of academic curricula, the democratic government, etc., happen later, after
> the fact. But do not misunderstand; they are the only systems that can comply
> with the core in the first place! This is something that is often
> misunderstood. There are so many things that are truly beautiful about the
> Sudbury Philosophies, but perhaps the most beautiful is the fact that
> everything falls into place after one understands his/her core views on the
> rights of children, or lack there of. It is important to return to the
> baseline from time to time.
>
> -Travis W.
>
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