I think that Travis has hit the nail squarely on the head here. Until
we realise that there is a core value-system and philosophy which
is essential to Sudbury/Summerhill type schools, we do not fully
realise the difference between them and any other kind of school.
But of course this is the same with adult democracies. No benevo-
lent dictatorship can be a TRUE democracy, since no matter how
benevolent -- whether in fact or merely in intent -- it is still a DIC-
More than just childrenís RIGHTS, though -- which is the main
thing Travis has pointed out -- I think there is need for RESPECT.
In the majority of adult-child situations, the demand is for respect
FROM the child, not respect TOWARD the child. But that's not
conducive toward a healthy relationship between the two. Not even
if there is a "Charter of Children's Rights" of sorts, spelling out all
of them in great detail.
Thatís because I think rights are an outcome of respect, and not re-
spect and outcome of rights. Take for instance the case of race re-
lations in North America. People of all races have the same RIGHTS
in the US and Canada, but not all of them enjoy the same degree of
RESPECT. Rights do not necessarily result in respect, but respect
-- genuine respect, of course -- results without fail in rights.
As A.S. Neill himself said in one of the last books he ever wrote,
after having lived a long life in which he saw Summerhill grow, he
came to realise that the one thing that was the core value which en-
abled the children there to grow and thrive was LOVE. And how
can one honestly say one loves a child unless one has RESPECT
for him or her?
And the test of it all is, Does the child love the school equally? If
he/she does, then he/she will respect it just as much as the school
respects the child, and will feel passionately for it.
> 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
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