Re: DSM: "The purpose for which [Sudbury] is formed ..."

From: David Rovner (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 04:28:35 EST

What is "a genuine free school"?
Actually you are looking for an Utopia.

It is so relatively simple: I think there is a *very big difference* between
INDOCTRINATION and learning by IMITATION from a person you see as a MODEL OF
CONDUCT. You cannot avoid being a model of conduct -- still you can act in a
noncoercive way and leave the final choice to the "learner".

We used to have "an oppen account for the children" at the grocery store and
my younger son used to eat a lot of candy and snatches (?).
Today, at age 21, I couldn't say he is a regular eater, but he has reached,
by his own, his own menu.

"The child is not the mere creature of the State."

David Rovner -
Favors ending government involvement in education,
working for the Advancement of Democratic Schools
& the Freedom of Learning, Individual Rights and Ayn
Rand's philosophy in Israel.

----- Original Message -----

From: "Ardeshir Mehta, N.D." <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: "The purpose for which [Sudbury] is formed ..."

> Hi Peter:
> Re. this:
> > But can we really offer freedom to our children? Can we truly not
> > intervene? I don't think so. We begin at a very young age when we teach
> > them to eat and drink, how to go to the bathroom, how to dress. As I
> > would guess is true of many Sudbury parents, I did not teach these
> > things to my children until they asked yet no matter how hard I may try,
> > I cannot get away from my agenda. For example, if your child was still
> > in diapers at age 8 or 9, would you have the same attitude about toilet
> > training? I doubt it. Even the most enlightened parent would have
> > intervened with their own agenda long before then 'for the sake of the
> > child'. The same might be said about some fundamental academic skills at
> > much later ages.
> Well, take my son Arthur, age 13. He has been given a psycho-
> educational test, and the test shows that he reads and writes at a
> grade 4 level. And he will not go to school. (There is no Sudbury-
> type school here in Ottawa, Canada, where I live, and the only
> choice is between a public school and a private but authoritarian
> school.)
> I am not bothered about Arthur's not being able to read and write
> at a level commensurate with other kids his age, but my wife is.
> We disagree between ourselves as to what should be done. I say,
> leave him alone, and when and if he wants to learn to read and write,
> he will! The proof is that he can play video games with the best of
> them (and I, with all my university education, and decades of life
> experience, can't play these games.) And besides he's a brilliant
> thinker, and can argue your pants off when he's really interested
> in the argument.
> So I'm not bothered by his not being able to read and write well,
> even though I am a writer myself and thus know the value of this
> skill. And if he were in diapers still, I wouldn't be bothered either!
> (My older son Cyrus, age 15, never brushes his teeth, and hardly
> ever takes a shower; and I am not bothered by that either.)
> My wife takes your approach, saying that it is up to her as a parent
> to give our kids all the help they need. But they don't want our help.
> I say, if they want it, by all means let them have it; but if they don't,
> why foist the help on them? Just make sure they know that the help
> is available when and if they want it.
> So you see, it *is* possible for people to take an approach that is
> different from yours. Not *all* parents are like you (or like my wife).
> > In the Sudbury model adults intervene all the time. The behavior of the
> > Sudbury staff constantly transmits an agenda to the student i.e. 'this
> > is how functional adults behave in our society'. The adults in the
> > Sudbury model actually have no more or less of an agenda than those in a
> > traditional school framework with a documented curriculum, it is just
> > transmitted in a very subtle and different way.
> That's *precisely* my beef with Sudbury! Thank you for saying it
> so frankly: for it means that Sudbury is *not* a genuine free school.
> Best,
> Ardeshir <>


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