Re: DSM: Is Sudbury too democratic?

From: Ann Ide (ann.ide@rcn.com)
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 10:48:08 EST


Mark would have more to say on these; but two other books (movements) I am
aware of are: The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack and Open Book
Management, by John Case. Both books are about open book management, a
style which gets rid of employee mentalities and gets everyone involved and
vested in the company.
Ann
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Sadofsky" <sadofsky@mediaone.net>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 4:40 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: Is Sudbury too democratic?

> An interesting post, Peter.
> And I am looking for a way to appropriately respond.
>
> Yes, there is no one *captain of the ship* at SVS, but there are
> mechanisms for decision making. And because of the structure of the
> school, those who want to participate in that process can do so.
> So what people learn is that decisions are made and members of the
> community are expected to live with those decisions or convince the
> majority to change them. Perhaps when the *captaincy* is vested in
> the community, there is less tendency to blame others.
>
> In any event, the decision process doesn't appear to me to be
> particularly different from my experiences in the corporate world.
> The factors that go into strategic decision making may be different,
> and everyone may not understand all those factors, but, as you wrote,
> your managers look for your input. Your personal scope of input may
> be constrained by the autocracy (your job definition), but there are
> others providing comparable input in there areas of expertise.
>
> A comment that I often make in discussion with others about SVS is
> that former SVS students often tell me about their surprise and
> amazement when they first meet young people at work or at school who
> grew up in environments where there was a *captain of the ship.* They
> find that these people don't know how to take responsibility for
> themselves. They don't take pride in doing a job well. They don't
> know how to manage their time. They don't know how to learn material
> or prepare for an exam on it. They need to learn all of these things
> and more in the *real world.*
>
> In the many years since I first entered the corporate world, I've seen
> and experienced a major relaxation of autocratic decision making. A
> couple of titles that describe democratization of decision making in
> the corporate world include:
> Maverick : The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
> by Ricardo Semler (Semler describes converting an autocratic company
> to an employee own and democratically run organization -- this is a
> harvard Business School studied operation. Semler has explored SVS
> and is involved in the establishment of a sudbury model school in his
> native brazil) and
> Birth of the Chaordic Age, by Dee Hock (the Visa story) in which he
> describes the process of getting the worldwide banking industry to
> come together in the give and take necessary to make VISA a reality.
> http://www.chaordic.org/index.html is a link to an organization he has
> established to promote these ideas in other organizations.
>
> In the last few days I read another article on this very subject,
> democratization of the work place, by an academic from, I think, a
> major business school. I can't locate the URL at the moment, but if I
> find it, I'll pass it on.
>
> Mike
>
> On Fri, 1 Feb 2002 11:20:28 -0800, "Peter Shier"
> <pshier@mindspring.com> wrote:
>
> >I completely agree with you Bruce (on all of your points from the
> >'purpose' thread) but you bring up another interesting aspect of the
> >Sudbury model which I have been thinking about quite a bit lately:
> >
> >"the hidden agenda of traditional schools, that order -- maintaining the
> >peace and finding one's rank in an authoritarian hierarchy -- is the
> >ultimate goal".
> >
> >I recently spoke at length to Jane Turnbull who is the owner and head of
> >the North Creek School in Bothell, WA (in suburban Seattle). She has a
> >very interesting and unique educational philosophy (not Sudbury) and one
> >thing she said really intrigued me: "There has to be a captain of the
> >ship".
> >
> >Bruce's term 'authoritarian hierarchy' is something I have been looking
> >at in our society in relation to the Sudbury model where there is little
> >of that. (Notice I did not say 'none'. This is because of things like
> >Sudbury corporations that do have certain authority).
> >
> >If I look at my job as a computer programmer working for a large
> >software company, there is no democracy there. While my superiors do
> >listen to my opinion, they ultimately make the decisions on their own.
> >One of the reasons I like my company is because I can have a lot of
> >input, but it is definitely not a democracy. It is, as Bruce states, an
> >'authoritarian hierarchy'. A self-employed person is also subject to the
> >authority of their customers. Even in the allegedly democratic society
> >of the Unites States, there is still an authoritarian hierarchy within
> >all levels of government.
> >
> >My question is: while I love the Sudbury model, does it really model any
> >social framework that children will live within as adults?
> >
> >One may argue that democracy allows for the choice of authority. That is
> >true, but once we choose it, we agree to live within its boundaries. The
> >same can be said for choosing an educational model or a place of
> >employment. Ultimately as adults, we decide which authorities we will
> >agree to obey but they are authorities nevertheless. So, is Sudbury
> >realistic if it does not model this fundamental aspect of our society?
> >Whatever ship you choose to sail in there will be a captain but in the
> >Sudbury model there are no captains.
> >
> >Peter
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Bruce Smith
> >Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 5:53 AM
> >To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> >Subject: RE: DSM: "The purpose for which [Sudbury] is formed ..."
> >
> >In traditional schools, the promise is that in exchange for following
> >orders, students will acquire all the facts and skills needed for a
> >successful adult life. In my opinion, this is a lie, compounded by the
> >hidden agenda of traditional schools, that order -- maintaining the
> >peace and finding one's rank in an authoritarian hierarchy -- is the
> >ultimate goal. Traditional schools claim to mold well-rounded learners,
> >whereas in fact they force young people to fit a narrow range of
> >pre-approved molds.
> >
> >
> >
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