DSM: Freedom Vs. Education

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 15:12:12 EST

Hi Mary Rose,

Thank you for the clarification of the meanings of the words
"Education" and "Freedom".

But consider this: Does not the word "education" imply that there
is also state of being "uneducated"? (In this I include *all* possible
definitions of "education", not even excluding the ones you gave.)

Now is it permissible in Sudbury for a child to want to remain
*uneducated*, even during his/her entire stay there, from age four
(or six, or whatever age Sudbury admits students) till age sixteen
(or eighteen, or whatever, when most of them graduate)?

If the answer is "No", then Sudbury is *not* a school that offers
freedom -- the freedom *to be and to remain uneducated*.

And for the word "freedom" we can use definition No. 5 of the ones
you gave: "The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the
freedom to do as we please all afternoon." (Indeed, why only "all
afternoon"? Why not all one's life?)

And if the answer to the above question is "Yes", then as regards
that particular student, Sudbury will have failed in its goal -- *if*
its goal is education (under *any* definition whatsoever)!

And what if *all* its students want to remain uneducated? If
Sudbury permits that, then it will have failed entirely and utterly
and most miserably ... *if its goal is education*.

But if its goal is *freedom*, then it will have succeeded laudably
and magnificently!

Now I want to ask: what does Sudbury *want* to do? Succeed in
*educating* its students, or succeed in giving *freedom* to its
students *even at the cost of _not_ educating them*?

If the latter, it is surely greatly to be admired; if the former, then
just as surely, greatly to be pitied!

Best wishes,

Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>.


Mary Rose Murrin wrote:

> > From the earlier discussion:
> > Freedom and Education are mutually exclusive in this respect be-
> > cause the latter has one or more goals in mind, "agenda".
> This is the American Heritage dictionary definition of education:
> "1. The act or process of educating or being educated.
> 2. The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process.
> 3. A program of instruction of a specified kind or level:
> 4. The field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and
> learning.
> 5. An instructive or enlightening experience"
> I agree that definitions 1,3, and 4 are mutually exclusive to freedom.
> If freedom is considered to be a learning process which unlocks the child's
> hidden potential, as it seems it is at Sudbury, then freedom is essential to
> the process rather than excluded from it.
> Additionally, if freedom is considered to be an enlightening experience then
> it is inherent in the definition of education rather than being excluded
> from it.
> The definition of freedom is:
> 1.The condition of being free of restraints.
> 2.Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.
> 3a.Political independence.
> 3b.Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance
> of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly.
> 4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.
> 5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as
> we please all afternoon.
> 6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer
> freedom.
> 7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in
> movies and novels.
> 8a.The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of
> their research facilities.
> 8b.The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or
> citizenship: the freedom of the city.
> 9.A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or
> interference: "the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form"
> (John W. Aldridge).
> According to the catalogue there is nothing at Sudbury that is contrary to
> this definition of freedom and there is nothing in the definition of freedom
> that excludes becoming enlightened. As far as we know, there is also no
> 'agenda', however as a by-product of freedom, the children gain the
> knowledge that they need to succeed in the adult world, which should be the
> true purpose of childhood education.
> Mary Rose Murrin


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