Re: DSM: students rights

From: BBWIA13@aol.com
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 10:18:42 EST


In a message dated 1/22/2002 3:19:33 PM Eastern Standard Time,
villagespecialed@charter.net writes:

<< My assumption is that children are naturally
 good, wise creatures, who will learn what they need to know if they are
 allowed the freedom to do it and aren't guilted all over the place. >>

    Here is something that is important for all of us to understand. The
Sudbury Valley School, to highlight it for now, is made up of all kinds of
people. In everything from political affiliation to judicial preference, you
can be assured that the school is truly a mix. And yet, as I speak these
words, there are still those who will agree but who secretly see it as a
haven to base a political, social, economic, or other movement and/or
personal goals.
    I would interpret the majority opinion to be that this mix of people is
closer to fact then theory. That is a good thing.
    You know, the Sudbury Philosophies are so unique. This is stating the
obvious, but sometimes, in all the hoopla about Sudbury Valley and all the
"Sudbury, yeah!" arguments (certainly not a bad thing), we forget about
reality. This is not to say that the philosophies are not realistic, that
they are only "in fairly land." What it is saying is that there is a very
human side to the issue that is often forgotten, especially by myself.
        I consider myself to be in strong support of the philosophies. And
yet, I am prone as well to forget the following: It is no piece of cake just
because you "believe" in the philosophies to see your child at age 12 you
cannot read. Keep in mind, this is not a judgment. I am simply posing a
hypothetical scenario. While I am not a parent, and certainly cannot imagine
what it is like, I acknowledge that it must be difficult at times to really
buy into the philosophies 100%!
    Because, specifically, those philosophies very clearly postulate that
even if a child cannot read at age 12, that it would be wrong for the school
to intervene in any way.
    While this is agreed upon by many people, it often lacks acknowledgment
and appreciation for what I must imagine is an insane effort of restraint on
behalf of the parent. Because, and lets face it, if a school like Sudbury is
filled with different types of people then you can be sure there are
different parents with accompanying parenting styles.
    In addition, you must understand that the "learning what you need to
know" assumption is more dangerous then it might appear\. Indeed, the Sudbury
Philosophies seek as its main supporters only the best, only those who suffer
the slings and arrows as a result, but never bend and concede to the
"probability learning" theories.
    Here is my case in point. There is a simple method for filtering out the
impostors from all who claim to be strong proponents of all issues pertaining
to the Sudbury Philosophies. Have a given child be illiterate at 12. Observe
who tries to use the subtlest coercive measures for attempting to get this
child to learn to read and write. The remaining people who, through the use
of supreme restraint, do nothing, that being the only option that would
adhere to the Sudbury Philosophies, are those who you could call true
supporters.
    And so, I am not accusing Karen outright of doing wrong, but I am saying
that one should be wary of these statements, even if one intends no harm or
disagreement, which I assume Karen didn't.
    It is more an observation on the issue in general. Understand that using
as a justification for the philosophies the argument that students will
'learn what they need to know' if they are allowed the freedom to do it is
inherently contradictory. As I mentioned, the core philosophies say nothing
about children learning various subjects.
    Children have rights that are not to be violated. The Sudbury
philosophies undergo the ultimate solidification if one streamlines them. If
not coercing or not expecting certain actions out of students entails that
they will grow up and, well, do whatever, or do whatever they want at school,
then so be it. No judgment, ever, should be employed with regard to students
choices about how they will live the rest of their lives.

-Travis W.

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